Fire service chiefs in Dundee have urged the public to attend organised firework displays – despite the council ditching them over safety fears.
Councillors agreed to scrap the fireworks displays at Baxter and Lochee parks in 2022.
The decision was made following legislation introduced after the Manchester Arena terror attack and concerns about how the public is kept safe at large-scale events.
And while an inspection of Lochee Park gave the venue the all-clear, significant issues were identified around how easy it would be to get people out of Baxter Park in the event of an emergency.
However, during a scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday, fire service and police chiefs urged the public to attend organised displays where possible.
They were speaking during a discussion on papers detailing the performance of emergency services in the region.
Scottish Fire and Rescue station commander, Christopher Bonnar said: “Previously we would always encourage (the public) to go to the organised displays.
“And if they were using sparklers and things like that (in their own time), we would recommend having plunge buckets
“But from our perspective, it was always to encourage people to go to organised displays.”
Chief Superintendent Jason Carrigan added: “I would echo the fire services advice in terms of attending organised displays if they are available.”
Calls for the return of organised displays
During the meeting, councillors called on the local authority to revisit the issue of organised fireworks displays.
Lib Dem councillor Fraser Macpherson said: “We view it as detrimental the fact there no public displays because we always felt they provided an ultra-safe environment for the public.
“I think it just makes the point that perhaps at some point revisiting the whole issue of organised displays would be welcome.
“Obviously the situation now is there are no public displays and I think that frankly is to be regretted.”
Firework ban looming
Under the so-called firework-control zones, those caught breaking the ban could face a fine of up to £5,000 or six months in prison.
Public firework displays would be permitted, subject to requirements.
Mr Carrigan added: “I’ve tasked Adam Smith, who’s my partnership superintendent, to work with Dundee City Council around the consultation for firework control zones.
“The new piece of legislation that allows us to put controls in terms of who possesses fireworks and that’s particularly relevant when we consider what happened in Kirton last year.”
A spokesperson from Dundee City Council said: “In June 2022, the then city development committee passed a report which outlined significant issues with regards to public fireworks displays in the city and recommended that the council ceased hosting such events due to site constraints.”