Ms Nicola Sturgeon MSP
The First Minister
St. Andrew's House
COPIED TO MINISTERS AND SHADOWS WITH RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANIMAL WELFARE AND LAW & ORDER AND TO ALL MSPs AND SCOTTISH CONSTITUENCY MPs
Dear First Minister,
I write regarding the use of fireworks which I know is an issue which concerns you and your constituents. Animal Concern Advice Line has already had several calls regarding pets which have been frightened by people setting off fireworks.
Apart from telling the public to immediately inform the police of fireworks incidents via 999, all we can do is advise pet owners to keep their animals indoors and, in very severe cases, to ask their vet for tranquilisers for their companion animals.
I live on the north bank of the Clyde, opposite Port Glasgow and Greenock. Over the last two weeks, despite being over two miles away, I've seen and heard large and noisy fireworks being set off numerous times from various locations on the south of the river.
The very necessary cancellation of public fireworks displays this November, coupled with the lack of any extra controls over the retail sale and private use of fireworks, is sure to create a firestorm of problems. This will include putting extra burdens on the police and fire services. It will no doubt also result in extra admissions to hospital accident and emergency departments and perhaps intensive care units at a time when the NHS is under considerable pressure due to the pandemic.
Although my priority is the welfare of animals and their owners, I also recognise that many people including the elderly, those living alone and sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder are adversely effected by the random discharge of what are no less than powerful explosive devices. The adverse effects of fireworks will no doubt be extra acute this year as most sensible and vulnerable people do their best to follow your excellent advice, guidance and regulations to deal with the Covid 19 pandemic.
I do understand that legislation on the sale and use of fireworks is not fully devolved and currently it would need new legislation from Westminster to ban the retail sale and personal use of fireworks and restricting the use of fireworks to licensed public displays only.
Given the Covid 19 situation are there no emergency powers to allow the Scottish Government to quickly introduce at least a temporary ban on the retail sale and public use of fireworks? Fireworks are most definitely not an essential item.
I urge you to do something now to try and avoid another very damaging side-effect of the Covid 19 pandemic.
John F. Robins,
Secretary to ACAL