Aberdeen will not enforce ban on fireworks in problem areas despite Scottish legislation

27/10/2023

ABERDEEN will not enforce a ban on fireworks in problem areas ahead of Bonfire Night despite the approval of Scottish legislation, it can be revealed.

New powers were given to local authorities by the Scottish Government in June allowing them to introduce so-called Firework Control Zones.

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But Aberdeen City Council, led by the SNP and Lib Dems, say it has no plans on introducing a ban, despite a rise in incidents across the city on November 5 and the week leading up to it.

Chay Ewing, senior fire officer for Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray, last year hit out at firefighters being attacked and said a rise in call-outs was having an impact on the resources of North East crews.

The proposed control zones which have been rejected by the council would make it illegal for a member of the public to ignite fireworks in the designated areas. Those caught breaking the ban could face a fine of up to £5,000 or six months in prison.

Across Scotland last year, emergency services attended more than 1,000 callouts leading to 12 arrests as Police Scotland revealed 483 calls were made for fireworks offences alone on November 5 last year.

In a response to an FOI from the Scottish Conservatives, Aberdeen City Council said: “There are currently no plans to institute a Fireworks Control Zone.”

Meanwhile, Moray Council has also rejected the control zones while Aberdeenshire Council said it was considering the legislation before undertaking a full consultation with communities which has yet to be scheduled.

Scottish Conservative North East MSP Liam Kerr said: “This decision from Aberdeen City Council will seriously impact local communities and emergency services who are at risk and under serious strain at one of their busiest times of the year.

“Over the years in Aberdeen, our emergency services have been subjected to appalling attacks by irresponsible people using fireworks recklessly. 

“Implementing safety plans would have allowed our councils, communities and emergency services to look forward to a safer, more enjoyable and less stressful Bonfire Night.

“Instead, the Scottish Government has failed to engage adequately with councils over how these zones will work, meaning that they won’t be in place for Guy Fawkes Night which is extremely disappointing.”

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Russell Findlay said: “SNP ministers rushed through their firework law but we now discover that control zones are being ignored by councils across Scotland.

“These include many SNP councils in areas blighted by firework misuse.”

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