Plans to limit firework displays look set to be snuffed out by officers - The Leamington Observer

Plans to limit firework displays look set to be snuffed out by officers

Leamington Editorial 21st Apr, 2021   0

PROPOSALS to consider tighter controls and volume limitations around firework displays in Warwick district look set to be turned down.

District councillors hoped to raise the issue of the impact of fireworks on animals and vulnerable people with government and Warwickshire County Council, but officers have recommended the discussion is not taken further.

Last year several incidents, including pets which bolted in fear and a Leamington cat whose leg was blown off in a deliberate act, prompted the public to call on authorities and the government to tighten restrictions around firework events, and to lower the noise level of fireworks to 90 decibels – around the volume of a lawnmower.

And a motion, put forward by Milverton ward councillor Bill Gifford and seconded by Coun Sidney Syson, has requested Tory leaders lobby the government to introduce legislation to limit noise levels of fireworks, as well as to urge the county council to encourage suppliers to stock ‘quieter’ fireworks.

It also requests a report into ways the district could ensure public displays were advertised beforehand, and to promote an awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people.

But officers say a petition logged with the government in 2020, requesting a noise reduction, has gathered little support and the county council could do little more than ‘request’ retailers sell quieter fireworks.

They also say pre-warnings could only be enforced for displays on council-owned land. In response to calls for campaigns, they say the council already operates a voluntary safe firework and bonfire registration scheme and lists registered events on its website – although it is not statutory. The council’s Safety Advisory Group also provides advice to the organisers of large scale public events and where there is ‘inherent risk’.

They added laws and restrictions are already in place around the sale and displays of fireworks, including on when they can be sold and let off, and enforced by police.

But Anita Twigger, head of operations at Rugby-based Pawprints Dog Rescue says fireworks are often used to caused distress and the motion must be given the green light..

She said: “It is greatly disappointing an opportunity to make a change to the negative impact that excessively loud fireworks have on pets, wildlife and the vulnerable members within our community, has been dismissed. We would urge the council to reconsider this decision and impose a reduction in noise levels to 90dB which is more than loud enough for public and private displays.

“From our own social media platforms, we are all too aware that unbearably loud fireworks are being used irresponsibly, indiscriminately, and antisocially, purely to cause maximum fear and distress.

“There is a definite shift in feeling around the UK as people grow less tolerant of the endless weeks of something akin to mortar attacks out of the blue. We are grateful to those councils who are taking a stand and discontinuing the use of loud fireworks, opting for lower noise or silent ones with the additional measures of advertising in advance any public firework displays. Leading by example, they are encouraging their communities to take the same approach and put the fun back into fireworks.

“We ask that the council reconsiders its position.”

A decision will be made on whether to further consider the requests during an executive meeting on April 22.


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