Bid to change fireworks law

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Local retailers will be asked to voluntarily raise the age limit for buying fireworks, after councillors discussed the sale of them in Midlothian.

The council’s Police and Fire and Rescue Board will also write to Midlothian MP Owen Thompson, asking him to raise the issue of firework sales at Westminster in an attempt to change the law.

In December, councillors approved a motion to council requesting that an all-party working group be established to include Trading Standards, the police and fire service, to consider how to implement the banning of the sale of fireworks to individuals. The motion suggested a bye-law be introduced banning the sale of fireworks in Midlothian.

However, officers told councillors at last week’s board meeting that putting in place a bye-law would not be possible as the power to do so is reserved to Westminster.

Councillor Adam Montgomery (Lab), said: “I think at the very least we should be going round the retailers to educate. There were 28 incidents last year, and that’s doubled.

“So I would be concerned if we didn’t do anything. I’m looking for more to be done.”

He then suggested asking retailers put the age limit for fireworks sales up to 21.

However, SNP councillor Joe Wallace was unimpressed.

He said: “So this would just be voluntary? So, it would mean nothing.”

There are now only 11 retailers in Midlothian that sell fireworks in the three weeks leading up to bonfire night and at New Year, a number that has decreased in recent years.

In the past three years, the number of calls to police relating to the anti-social use of fireworks has risen quickly from nine in 2013, to 16 in 2014 and up to 28 last year.

Councillors agreed to ask retailers to voluntarily put the age limit up, and write to Midlothian MP Owen Thompson.

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