Fireworks ban could be a damp squib in South Lanarkshire this year

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New powers banning fireworks in problem areas are unlikely to be in place in time for this year’s Bonfire Night.

Firework Control Zones (FCZs) became law in Scotland in June, giving local authorities the ability to create areas where it is illegal to set off pyrotechnics, even in private gardens.

The measures are seen as crucial in reducing the risks emergency services face each November, and are the result of long-term campaigning by police representatives.

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However, councils will only be able to introduce such zones after an initial consultation phase which should be a minimum of eight weeks, followed by a mandatory further two-month notice period.

It appears that the control zones will not be in place this year.It appears that the control zones will not be in place this year.
It appears that the control zones will not be in place this year.

Analysis by justice and social affairs publication 1919 Magazine has revealed not a single council in Scotland has launched such a consultation meaning that, as things stand, it will be impossible to get the control zones in place by Fireworks Night.

That time of year is notorious for trouble, with 2022 sparking some of the worst scenes in recent memory.Last November, there were reports of pyrotechnics being launched at police and patrol cars were smashed up.

David Threadgold, chair of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “Police fought hard for these zones – they are crucial to the safety of officers and the wider public, especially over the Bonfire Night period.

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“It’s extremely disappointing that is seems unlikely any of these will be in place this year.

“It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to decision-makers that these powers were coming, they’ve been on the table for some time.

“It’s no exaggeration to say police and other emergency services have their lives placed in danger around this time of year. By having these zones in place, much of that risk would be reduced.”

Scottish Conservative deputy justice spokesperson Sharon Dowey said: “Fireworks Control Zones appear to be just another half-baked SNP initiative.

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“It looks like ministers have failed to engage adequately with councils over how these zones will work, meaning that they won’t be in place for Guy Fawkes Night.

“This will impact local communities and emergency services, who are under serious strain at one of their busiest times of the year.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Firework Control Zones, alongside other measures within the Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles (Scotland) Act, have been developed to support a long-term cultural change with fireworks, not as a quick fix.

“The Act provides local authorities with a new discretionary power to designate, amend, or revoke a firework control zone within its boundaries. It is for local authorities to utilise these powers based on their own assessment of the needs of their communities.”

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A spokesman for COSLA, the umbrella group for Scotland’s councils, added: “It is rightly for local determination by individual councils whether they want to use this new power or not, and – if they do – they’ll need to consult with local stakeholders and communities in advance.”

South Lanarkshire Council was asked for comment but had not done so by time of going to press.