Fireworks season ‘needs restricting’

As November approaches the Scottish SPCA is urging animal lovers in the Borders to join them in appealing to the UK and Scottish governments to tighten the laws on the sale and use of fireworks.

A fresh campaign has been launched to seek a change in legislation on the sale of fireworks and their unlicensed use in public.

Anyone who has witnessed an animal suffering as a result of being exposed to fireworks is being encouraged to write to their MP and MSP in support of the Scottish SPCA’s proposals.

Legislation on the sale of fireworks is controlled by Westminster while laws concerning their unlicensed use in public are devolved to the Scottish Government.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We’re asking for a restriction, not a ban, on the days it’s legal to use fireworks and tighter laws on their sale. Because the current legislation is so relaxed, fireworks can be set off on any given day and for weeks and months on end rather than being limited to the major festival periods. This leaves pet owners and farmers unable to make adequate provisions for their animals.

“Animals will panic and flee at the sound of the bang and this can result in road traffic accidents. We’ve received reports of wild swans flying into electricity pylons and horses being badly injured after running through barbed wire fences.”

At present, fireworks can be used in public on any day of the year between the hours of 7am and 11pm, with the laws further relaxed around major occasions such as November 5, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali. They can be sold from October 15 to November 10, from December 26-31, and on the days of Chinese New Year and Diwali and the three preceding days.

The Scottish SPCA is calling for fireworks sales to be restricted to the week preceding November 5 and not at all afterwards, with the current rules pertaining to New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali remaining unchanged. The charity is also calling for the unlicensed use of fireworks by members of the public to be limited to defined festival periods.

The Scottish SPCA has created a template letter for people to write to their MP and MSP in support of a restriction on the current fireworks laws. This is available at scottishspca.org/fireworks.