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Partnership Approach To Reduce Unauthorised Bonfires

25th October 2011

The Highland Council, Northern Constabulary and Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service are joining forces to reduce the number of unauthorised bonfires throughout the Highlands in the lead up to Bonfire Night and the inappropriate use of fireworks.

Group Manager Robert Scott from Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service said that this was a good example of the Inverness Community Partnership working with partners and sharing information. Their efforts will help ensure the number of accidents involving fireworks, or uncontrolled or unsupervised bonfires is kept to a minimum and they are encouraging members of the public to attend the organised bonfire at Bught Park to ensure a safe and enjoyable bonfire night.

Most people are aware of the tragic consequences that can result from the unsafe or inappropriate use of fireworks as well as the safety risks created by bonfires in the community. Northern Constabulary want everyone to enjoy a safe and legal firework season.

Legislation aimed at reducing the number of fireworks falling into the hands of children and young people was introduced in October 2004, making it an offence for a person under the age of 18 to possess a firework in a public place.

The Fireworks (Scotland) Regulations 2004, created the offence of setting off a firework between 11pm and 7am, with the exception of November 5 (Guy Fawkes Night). Even on November 5 it would be an offence to set fireworks off after midnight.

Police now have the power to search, and in certain circumstances arrest, without warrant, any person under 18 they believe may be in possession of a firework. There are also powers of arrest in relation to the inappropriate use of fireworks by someone over 18.

Area Commander Chief Inspector Graeme Murdoch appealed to people in Inverness to be aware of the law and use fireworks responsibly. "We will be working closely with Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service and colleagues from The Highland Council to reduce risks and we will also be paying close attention to the building or lighting of unauthorised bonfires. The Fire Service and Highland Council will respond to reports of unauthorised bonfires and these will be extinguished or removed."

Debbie Maguire, Highland Council's Community Works Manager added that the Council will be removing any unauthorised bonfires which they become aware of on Council land and would like to encourage people to attend an organised bonfire and fireworks display in their area.

 

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