Councils to 'have new power' in updated firework laws

The new bill will make it a criminal offence to buy, possess or use fireworks without a licence.

Councils to ‘have new power’ in updated firework laws iStock

New legislation designed to restrict the use of fireworks will give new power to councils to designate firework control zones, where the public will not be allowed to use fireworks.

A report going before Falkirk Council’s executive on Tuesday explains the council’s role in the Scottish Government’s legislation, which passed in June.

The act increases restrictions on buying and selling fireworks and there will also be strict limits put on the times, dates and areas members of the public can use fireworks in Scotland.

The new law will also mean people must have a licence to buy and use certain fireworks while possession of a firework in a public place without reasonable excuse will become an offence.

And it will also become an offence to give fireworks to or buy them for a child.

Local authorities will have to prepare and publish details of any proposed firework control zones, amendments, and revocations.

They will also need to carry out reviews of the operation and effectiveness of the zone and publish the findings of the review.

Councillors will be told that the provisions relating to the firework licensing system and firework control zones will require further legislation and/or guidance before being implemented, and so are unlikely to start until 2023 at the earliest.

The Scottish Government also intends an implementation period to allow sufficient time for businesses to adapt their processes and existing stock in line with the changes. This provision will impact the businesses in the Falkirk Area who apply to register to sell fireworks each year and applies equally to both national retailers and smaller independent businesses.

The report states that it is not known known how many members of the public in the Falkirk area will apply for a licence, and whether the use of fireworks will reduce as a consequence of the legislation.

It adds that there will be additional costs for the council, particularly in Trading Standards who will be heavily involved, working in partnership with Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

The Council will be seeking a guarantee of full funding from the Scottish Government through COSLA.

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