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Irresponsible fireworks use ‘should be as unacceptable as drink-driving’

A cross-party Commons committee has called for better regulation of the firework industry.

A report has called for tighter regulations of the fireworks industry (Aaron Chown/PA)
A report has called for tighter regulations of the fireworks industry (Aaron Chown/PA)

By Dominica Sanda, PA

A Parliamentary committee has found the “inconsiderate and irresponsible” use of fireworks should be considered as socially unacceptable as drink-driving.

The House of Commons Petitions Committee released its report on Tuesday calling on the Government to take action on irresponsible fireworks use and urging better industry regulation.

The cross-party committee led an inquiry into the issue after several petitions calling for tighter restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks were signed by thousands of people.

The inquiry found fireworks can be detrimental to animal welfare and can impact upon people with disabilities or health conditions such as PTSD or autism.

It called on the Government to fund annual national campaigns from October 2020 that raise awareness of the dangers of fireworks.

“We agree with military veterans and people with health conditions and disabilities that inconsiderate and irresponsible use of fireworks needs to be considered as socially unacceptable as drink driving,” the report said.

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Fireworks over the River Trent during the Nottingham Riverside Festival 2019 (Aaron Chown/PA)

The committee said it does not support a ban on public firework sales because of the “substantial” economic effect it would have and the importance community-run displays have to local areas.

Committee chair Helen Jones said the inquiry revealed the impacts of the lack of industry regulation.

“Our inquiry has shone a light on the troubling human impact of failing to regulate the fireworks industry effectively,” the Labour MP said in a statement.

“From affecting the mental health of veterans, to harming animal welfare, and even threatening the health of young children, the consequences are widespread.”

The report calls for legislation to empower local authorities to introduce permits in communities where the irresponsible use of fireworks is a problem for residents.

It also recommends a review of the decibel level limit of consumer fireworks with the view of working towards a reduced limit to reduce the risks to animals.

The report raises concerns about the packaging of consumer fireworks which can be appealing to children and urges the Government to act to introduce new packaging regulations.

“While we do not support a ban on public sales and use of fireworks, further failure to act from the Government and agencies could mean that a ban becomes the only option,” Ms Jones said.

The committee has submitted its report for consideration, with a response expected after the General Election.

PA

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