Use of Fireworks July 2016

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding the use of fireworks.

I appreciate your concerns. This is clearly an important issue and I have received a number of letters regarding this issue from my constituents.

I fully support only reasonable use of fireworks to avoid the raised level of noise which has negative impact on humans as well as animals. It is up to local councils to decide whether or not to put on public displays. These are covered by Health and Safety legislation which requires the display organisers to ensure the safety of the display operators, spectators and those in the near vicinity of the display site.

The sale and use of fireworks are also restricted by regulation. Fireworks for home use can be sold during the traditional firework periods of Bonfire Night (15 October – 10 November), New Year’s Eve (26 December – 31 December), Chinese New Year (the day of the Chinese New Year and three days immediately before), and Diwali (the day of Diwali and three days immediately before).

The regulations also created a curfew preventing the use of fireworks between 11.00pm and 7.00am all year round with the exception of 5 November, when the curfew starts at 12 midnight, and New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali, when the curfew starts at 1.00 am on the night of celebration.

However, the Conservative Government’s legislation of the use of fireworks is clearly insufficient due to several reasons. The current legislation that places seasonal limitations on the sale of fireworks is only voluntary. Sellers and online retailers sell fireworks far outside of the holiday season. As usual, the Conservative Government is failing to hold corporations and industries accountable. If elected, the Labour Party would work to ensure that big business, including the firework industry, is held accountable to the needs of the public instead of caring only for profits.

The existing legislation is designed to protect a good night’s rest, not to protect the health and wellbeing of those most vulnerable, include our ex-service members and animals. As an animal lover myself, I am very proud that the Labour Party has made great strides in animal welfare policy, and I agree that it is time to pay more attention to the detrimental effects that fireworks can have on our furry friends. The Government needs to listen to experts, including the BVA, who resoundingly agree that firework use and noise levels are extremely harmful to animals.  

I see that the Government’s response to the petition against excessive use of fireworks states that most people who use fireworks do so at appropriate times of the year and times of day. However, this is clearly not the reality that you and many of my constituents are experiencing, and more must be done. Excessive noise from fireworks, or noise during the curfew period, can be considered a statutory nuisance and local authority environmental health officers have the power to investigate complaints of fireworks noise and act to prevent it where appropriate. Violators can be subjected to fines and even jail time. Since it falls to the power of local authorities, I would urge you to contact the Nottingham City Council directly to make a complaint. The telephone number for the council is 0115 915 5555.

Thank you again for contacting me in regards of this matter. I assure you that I will follow this issue closely.