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Should stricter laws be imposed?

We have now reached that time of the year where fireworks will Boom! Pop! Bang! in the sky. Fireworks bring people together at a time of celebration, but yet every year we hear stories of individuals who have no regard for the safety of others.

fireworksOn November 05, some parts of Edinburgh experienced a Bonfire Night that was described as “a war zone”. Fireworks were set off dangerously and vehicles were damaged. When the police and fire crews attended to the scenes, a female police officer suffered serious burn injuries and two firefighters were attacked by a gang of youths.

SNP’s Ash Denham said that she was “deeply concerned and disturbed by the violent use of fireworks throughout Edinburgh Eastern” and has now called for action on the matter. She claimed that many of her constituents contacted her, “advocating for stricter laws around fireworks”.

In the United Kingdom, the laws relating to the supply, storage, possession and use and misuse of fireworks is set under the Fireworks Act 2003, the Fireworks Regulations 2004 and the Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015. Ms Denham has therefore asked the UK Government to “devolve full legislative control over the sale, purchase and use of fireworks to the Scottish Parliament”. This will provide Scotland with the power to make any changes on the laws as it sees fit.

Ms Denham further said: “Based on what occurred during Bonfire Night, it is clear that we need to revisit such laws so that the safety of residents, police officers and firefighters is not jeopardised in such a manner again”.

There are, however, some individuals who feel that the public use of fireworks should be banned completely. There is currently a petition circulating that claims that “fireworks cause alarm, distress and anxiety to many people and animals”. The petition calls on the Secretary of State to “make [an] appropriate provision to secure that the risk of public use is the MINIMUM that is compatible with fireworks being used, as stated in the Fireworks Act 2003 sect 2”.

When the petition received over 10,000 signatures, the UK government responded to it and said: “Although a small minority of people use fireworks in a dangerous, inconsiderate or anti-social manner, we believe that the majority use them sensibly and responsibly”.

The government acknowledged the risks of the use and misuse of fireworks, but said that the “current regulations strike the right balance between the enjoyment of fireworks by the public and restricting the sale and use of fireworks for public safety reasons”.

The petition has now received over 100,000 signatures and will be debated in parliament.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Blog by Charlotte McTavish

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