Call for tighter firework regulations rejected

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Indy Politics

The government yesterday rejected calls for tighter regulation on the sale of fireworks that would prevent "maiming, disfiguration and death" on 5 November.

The government yesterday rejected calls for tighter regulation on the sale of fireworks that would prevent "maiming, disfiguration and death" on 5 November.

Phil Sawford (Lab, Kettering) said the time had come to bring an end to the "annual ritual whereby hundreds of people suddenly go into their backyard and play with explosives".

He called on the Government to restrict the availability of fireworks to professional pyrotechnicians. He said: "At the moment they are let off indiscriminately for weeks before firework night, for weeks after; this causes great concern in our communities, particularly to elderly people, to pet owners and pet lovers, and I think it is a perfectly reasonable thing for this Government to have a look at."

But Junior Trade and Industry Minister, Dr Kim Howells, said current legislation was sufficient.

He said: "Fireworks obviously provide a great deal of entertainment for people because 100 million of them were sold last year. We don't believe there is a case for a total ban on the retail sale of fireworks. We have legislated to reduce the public's access to the more powerful fireworks.

"A complete ban on the sale of fireworks to the public could well encourage a black market in fireworks or lead to people making their own devices or importing them illegally."

Tory John Bercow (Buckingham) called on the Government for evidence that the current legislation had been effective in restricting the availability of the most dangerous fireworks.

Mr Howells replied: "The figures have been coming down, the rate of accidents has been coming down since '94. I think the orders are working pretty well and we ought to keep them."

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