Falkirk councillors pledge to tackle fireworks

Stock photo.
Stock photo.

Falkirk councillors pledged to do all they could to tackle the problem of noisy fireworks upsetting vulnerable people and family pets.

Councillors from all parties – many of whom are dog owners – agreed to do what they could to improve the situation, although laws around the sale of fireworks are made by the UK government in London.

The issue was raised by independent councillor James Kerr, who firstly urged the council to ensure that all public firework displays are advertised widely and well in advance. He also asked the council to start a public awareness campaign on the topic.

Mr Kerr told the executive he was aware that many people got a lot of pleasure from firework displays – including his own grandchildren – but for others they could be an ordeal.

“My own dog, Bex, is part of my family and for a whole week leading up to November 5 it was horrendous,” he said.

The SNP’s Laura Murtagh said she was keen to wait for recommendations from a firework review group, set up by the Scottish government, which will report by the summer.

That review group was established after a consultation on the issue attracted more than 16000 responses, showing the strength of feeling across the country.

Councillor Murtagh, who is the SNP administration’s spokeswoman for public protection, said: “I don’t want to disagree with Councillor Kerr but it is important that we have consistent messages on public safety.”

Falkirk Council’s main display in Callendar Park is widely advertised and councillors and police say having large displays is a very effective way of reducing unsafe private displays as well as anti-social behaviour.

But they agreed to ask Falkirk’s licensing department to look at ways in which they might be able to control the use of fireworks locally.

As there was widespread agreement that it was something that needed tackled, council leader Cecil Meiklejohn suggested that they combine Mr Kerr’s motion to ask the UK government to take action and look at ways to control the sale of noisy fireworks with the SNP plea to wait for the results of the Scottish government’s national consultation.