31 October
bonfire 2023

The West Lothian Community Safety Partnership is made up of public organisations such as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), Police Scotland and West Lothian Council.

Together, with the support and assistance from voluntary organisations and members of the public, they are promoting safety and responsibility this bonfire period and reminding West Lothian communities what they should do should they encounter any suspicious activity.

If you encounter an unregistered bonfire that is already alight please contact the SFRS on 999.

Illegal or any other suspicious activity can be reported to Police Scotland by calling 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Area Commander William Pollard is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's Local Senior Officer for Falkirk and West Lothian. He said: "Bonfire Night is one of the busiest times of the year for our crews.

"Scotland's Fire and Rescue Crews attend up to 4 times more incidents than usual on the 5th of November, valuable time and resources can be wasted attending unsafe bonfires. Last year in the weeks leading up to Bonfire Night, from 14th October through to the 7th November, crews attended more than 900 deliberate fires across Scotland, including bonfires, bin fires and grass fires.

"The safest way to enjoy bonfire night is at an organised event, if you do intend to use fireworks at home ensure that you know how to use them safely and always follow the Firework Code.

"Fire and Rescue crews will work with community partners to keep the public safe during the bonfire period. We have a zero-tolerance approach to deliberate fire setting which can put properties and lives at risk, and any violence towards crews and community partners will absolutely not be tolerated."

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service would like everyone to enjoy the bonfire season, but it is very important that they do so safely and have consideration for others.

Inspector Brendan McMahon, Deputy Local Area Commander West Lothian said: " Bonfire Night, and the intervening days, are typically one of the busiest periods for officers in West Lothian and we will have dedicated resources in place who will be out on patrol throughout the region to offer reassurance to the public, deter criminal activity and provide assistance to our emergency service colleagues, if required.

Local officers will once again be supported by colleagues from national and specialist departments as part of Operation Moonbeam and we are grateful for this additional resource to call upon.

It is now a criminal offence to buy fireworks for anyone under the age of 18 and if you do so, you could face a £5,000 fine, six months imprisonment, or both, so please don't risk it. A new aggravator will also be added to charges brought against those who attack emergency service workers. We welcome this legislative change, as it will help ensure more stringent punishments for those who commit such offences.

We want everyone to enjoy Bonfire Night safely and responsibly and while we are working alongside partners to do all we can to mitigate against fireworks-related disorder, we would also ask for parents and guardians to have frank conversations with young people in their care about the risks and consequences of getting involved in criminality involving fireworks."

Executive councillor for community safety, Craig Meek commented:  "If you do come across any issues in the build up to bonfire night or on the night itself then please get in touch with the relevant agencies to report your concerns. Doing so will help us all enjoy bonfire night in safe manner."

To reduce the risk of unnecessary bin fires, residents are asked where possible to put their bins out as early as they can on uplift day and bring them in as soon as they've been emptied.

For any concerns regarding the potential illegal sale of fireworks please get in touch with West Lothian Council's Trading Standards service.

If you suspect an illegal bonfire may be under construction, or come across materials suspected of being used for bonfire purposes, then please get in touch with the council's NETS and Land Services team.

Get in touch with Trading Standards and NETS and Land Services by calling the council's customer service centre on 01506 280000.

For more advice please visit the West Lothian Council website: www.westlothian.gov.uk/bonfire