The noise from fireworks being set off by my neighbours is terrifying my dog. I have been to the vet, and they prescribed medication, but I want to know what the rules are on fireworks and what I can do. Can you help?
I’m sorry to hear that your dog isn’t having the best of times with the fireworks. Many pet owners take measures at this time of year to reduce their animal’s exposure to the noise from fireworks.
Seeking the advice of a vet is one such measure, and medication may be prescribed, as well as other tips for behavioural and nerve issues made worse by the noise of the fireworks.
If possible, you could create a quiet space where your dog can feel more in control, including closing windows and curtains to reduce the noise of the fireworks, or using some music or your television to mask the loud sounds.
Legislation on Fireworks
There is legislation that places certain restrictions on the use of fireworks. New rules came into force in Scotland on the 30th of June 2021, with legislation highlighting new regulations controlling the use of fireworks.
This includes three new measures in relation to the way the general public can use and access fireworks.
Restrictions on Times
This restricts the times of day that fireworks can be used by the general public to between 6pm and 11pm (with certain exemptions).
Additionally, the new rules restrict the times of day that fireworks can be supplied to the general public to the daytime hours between 7am and 6pm, alongside the existing requirements on retailers around sale and storage licenses.
Restrictions on Sales Quantities
The new rules also limit the quantity of fireworks that can be supplied to the general public to 5kg at any one time.
The other existing rules that are in place in relation to how fireworks can be used continue to apply, including the mishandling, or inappropriate use of fireworks.
The Explosives Act 1875 (section 80) makes it a criminal offence for anyone to throw, cast or fire any fireworks into any road or public place.
The exemptions previously mentioned include the 5th of November when fireworks can be used between 6pm and midnight.
Exemptions to the Rules
Additionally, certain groups are exempt from the rules, including some community groups; professional organisers or operators of fireworks displays and their employees; businesses involved in the supply of fireworks who use them in relation to that business; and regulatory authorities in the exercise of their powers or duties.
It is Police Scotland who continue to be responsible for enforcing regulations in relation to the use of fireworks, as set out within The Fireworks (Scotland) Regulations 2004.
What can be done about the neighbours?
If you are in a situation where your neighbours are setting off fireworks outside of the allowed times, then you should contact the Police Scotland on the non-emergency number, 101.
If you believe that someone is in immediate danger, or it is an emergency situation, you should contact the police on 999.
I hope this helps, and you have an easier time with your dog!
Advice Direct Scotland are running their ‘Safety and Sustainability 2021’ Campaign until the 12th of November. The campaign looks at various aspects of safety and sustainability at this time of year, specifically in relation to fireworks safety, and other practical changes that we can make in the lead up to COP26.
This includes advice on firework and bonfire safety. More information on the campaign can be found by visiting the campaign page.
You can access free, impartial advice on any topic from advice.scot by contacting 0808 800 9060 or by visiting www.advice.scot. Advice is available to everyone in Scotland, at no cost, regardless of personal circumstance.