MSP calls for “common sense” over Whithorn fireworks

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown has called on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to use “common sense” and work with the local community in Whithorn to ensure the return of the annual community and fireworks display, which has been cancelled this year.

The cancellation of the event, which was scheduled to take place this Saturday (8th November) came after Scottish Fire and Rescue chiefs stopped local fire fighters from running the popular event due to health and safety concerns - despite the event being run safely for years by Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service. The MP believes that the heavy handed approach is a symptom of more decisions being centralised since the creation of national Fire and Rescue and Police Services.

Russell Brown said: “It is deeply disappointing for the community to have what had become a popular annual event cancelled at the last minute by the Fire and Rescue Service. When safe, well organised events aren’t held it simply results in unauthorised bonfires being organised elsewhere which increases the risk to the public and probably adds to the burdens on the fire service. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service really need to use a bit of common sense and work with the local community to find a viable way forward in the future. It is just not good enough that they didn’t flag up concerns earlier and then worked with local people to overcome them.”

“I have also had councillors complain to me that this year the Fire and Rescue Service have failed to consult them and local communities over the designation of authorised bonfire sites. Sadly these high handed decisions are becoming all too common now we have a centralised Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. Local communities are simply ignored. The Scottish Government needs to revisit their ill-thought centralisation agenda and ensure there is proper accountability to local communities and there is local input into decision making both in relation to the national Police and Fire Service. That isn’t happening at present because we now have this one size fits all central belt approach.”