Fire chief would like to ban fireworks

Monday November 9th 2020


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A fire chief has said he would ban fireworks if he could after his officers came under attack while called out to a blaze last week.

Area Commander Steve Gourlay told a meeting of Midlothian Police and Fire and Rescue Board he would introduce a ban “if it was in my gift”.

Speaking as he presented the board with the Scottish Fire Service Local Plan, Mr Gourlay was asked for his view following the findings of a Scottish Government Fireworks Review group which fell short of recommending a ban.

He said while the emergency service would form a professional position on the review’s recommendations, he would personally like to see them off the shelves.

Mr Gourlay said: “I have been on the wrong end of fireworks and had the being launched at me on some of my team.

“I would ban them if it was in my gift, I’d push the button now.

“I might be accused of spoiling people’s fun but it is not fun and if you were in Accident and Emergency when kids are brought in with severe burns it would change people’s opinions on it.”

His comments come just days after a fire and rescue crew had missiles launched at them as they attended a bonfire in Danderhall.

The incident last Wednesday evening was condemned at the time by Councillor Stephen Curran, chairperson of the Police and Fire and Rescue Board.

During the virtual board meeting this week, Councillor Curran said he believed there was a “balance to be found” over the sale and restrictions to fireworks.

The recommendations of the Firework Review Group do not call for a ban on the sale of fireworks but instead suggest tougher measures which could be used to control sales.

Among the recommendations are reducing the times of day fireworks can be sold and amount available for individual purchase, and creating firework free zones where it is an offence to set them off.

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