New regulations in 2021 for the use of fireworks
New regulations came into force on the 30 June 2021. The regulations include three new measures in relation to the way the general public can use and access fireworks.
- restrict the times of day fireworks can be used by the general public to between 6pm and 11pm (subject to exempt dates detailed below)
- restrict the times of day fireworks can be supplied to the general public to during the daytime hours of 7am and 6pm, alongside existing requirements on retailers around sale and storage licences
- limit the quantity of fireworks that can be supplied to the general public to 5kg at any one time
Existing legislation around how fireworks can be used continue to apply. For example, the Explosives Act 1875 (section 80) sets out that it is a criminal offence for anyone to throw, cast or fire any fireworks in or into any road or public place and this is enforced by Police Scotland.
Use of fireworks outside permitted hours
Restrictions on the time of day that the general public can use fireworks apply across Scotland throughout the year, apart from a number of exceptions set out within the regulations. From 30 June 2021, fireworks may only be used by the general public during the permitted hours of day between 6pm and 11pm. The exempted days when the general public can use fireworks out with permitted hours are:
- 5 November, when they can be used from 6pm until midnight
- New Year’s Eve, the night of Chinese New Year and the night of Diwali, when they can be used from 6pm until 1am
Certain groups are exempt from the regulations and may use fireworks out with the permitted hours, between 7am and 6pm. The exempt groups are:
- community groups, including charitable, religious, recreational and political organisations, who can continue to organise public displays between 7am and 6pm
- professional organisers or operators of firework displays and their employees, who can continue to organise public displays in the course of their business or at a national public celebration or a national commemorative event between 7am and 6pm without the need for permission from the relevant local authority·
- businesses involved in the supply of fireworks and who use fireworks in connection with that business can continue to do so between 7am and 6pm
- regulatory authorities can continue to use fireworks between the hours of 7am and 6pm in the exercise of their powers or duties in connection with the use and/or regulation of fireworks
There are different ways a community group can prove that they are organising a public display and fit within this exemption. For example, a local authority issued public entertainment licence or public liability insurance documents for the firework display could be used as evidence.
Police Scotland are responsible for enforcing regulations in relation to the use of fireworks, as set out within The Fireworks (Scotland) Regulations 2004, and this continues to apply.
Further information is available from the Scottish Government website.