Red tape causes end for fireworks

The Oban Times - - Lochaber Times -

‘ONER­OUS li­cens­ing re­quire­ments’ have led to a com­mu­nity fireworks dis­play be­ing can­celled af­ter more than a decade.

Bal­lachul­ish Com­mu­nity Coun­cil has an­nounced the vil­lage fireworks will be can­celled this year be­cause of too much pa­per­work fol­low­ing the coun­cil’s in­tro­duc­tion for such events to have pub­lic en­ter­tain­ment li­cences.

In Jan­uary, the High­land Coun­cil in­sti­gated a re­quire­ment for fireworks dis­plays to have a pub­lic en­ter­tain­ment li­cence.

Chair­man of Bal­lachul­ish Com­mu­nity Coun­cil Kevin Smith told the Lochaber Times the com­mu­nity is go­ing to have to can­cel the event at Bal­lachul­ish Quarry for 2017 be­cause of ‘more oner­ous li­cens­ing re­quire­ments that were not pre­vi­ously re­quired for small com­mu­nity events’.

He said: ‘We have been look­ing at all the pa­per­work for over a year and have sadly con­cluded the ad­di­tional re­quire­ments, both in terms of as­so­ci­ated costs and ad­di­tional man hours, make it im­pos­si­ble to con­tinue at the pre­sent time to meet the High­land Coun­cil time frame for li­cenced events this year.’

Mr Smith said the fireworks have been a ‘great com­mu­nity event’ over the past decade and thanked ev­ery­one for their help.

The coun­cil’s li­cens­ing com- mit­tee agreed to the changes in Septem­ber.

It stated pub­lic fireworks dis­plays are re­quired to hold a li­cence where there is no ad­mis­sion fee or charge. Pre­vi­ously, a li­cence was only re­quired when there was a charge to view or take part.

A coun­cil spokesper­son said: ‘Fol­low­ing a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on a num­ber of pro­posed changes to pub­lic en­ter­tain­ment li­cence ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing a pro­posal to ex­tend the ac­tiv­ity of pub­lic fireworks dis­plays to in­clude those for which there was no charge to the pub­lic, the High­land Li­cens­ing Com­mit­tee con­sid­ered the feed­back from this con­sul­ta­tion and at its meet­ing on Au­gust 11 2015, agreed to pro­pose to amend its li­cens­ing res­o­lu­tion to in­clude pub­lic fireworks dis­plays for which there was no charge to the pub­lic.

‘In re­sponse to the con­sul­ta­tion, the Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice ad­vised that it agreed and sup­ported the pro­posal as any in­creased scru­tiny and com­pli­ance would al­most cer­tainly have a di­rect im­pact in in­creas­ing pub­lic safety which di­rectly aligns with the ob­jec­tives of its ser­vice.

‘The li­cens­ing of this ac­tiv­ity will en­sure the rel­e­vant health and safety as­pects, risk as­sess­ments and in­sur­ance re­quire­ments are con­sid­ered and met.’

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