Fireworks ban: Tens of thousands back calls to outlaw public use of pyrotechnics

Over 40,000 people have signed the petition calling for further restrictions on public displays

Caroline Mortimer,Harriet Agerholm
Sunday 05 November 2017 16:40 GMT
A firework display over Battersea Power Station in south London on Saturday
A firework display over Battersea Power Station in south London on Saturday (PA)

More than 40,000 people have signed a petition calling for a new law banning the public use of fireworks.

The petition, on the Government’s official epetition’s website, has called for legislation governing the sale of fireworks to be updated to ban public firework displays due to the “alarm, distress and anxiety” they cause to “many people and animals”.

The petition calls on the Business Secretary Greg Clark, whose department is responsible for their regulation, to ban garden displays and increase regulation of official displays.

Organiser Julie Doorne told The Independent: ”We’re asking the Government to look again at fireworks legislation. We have never said we don’t want [official] displays, but many come out of the blue.

“Some people are really suffering from fireworks all the time. If you’re deaf, you wear a hearing aid and a firework goes off next to your house, it can hurt.”

Under current UK law, the sale of fireworks is restricted to certain holidays throughout the year including Chinese New Year, the three days before New Year’s Eve, the three days before Diwali and from 15 October to 10 November for Guy Fawkes Night.

It is illegal to set any fireworks, including sparklers, off in the street and there are rules governing the distance spectators must stand away when setting off garden or display fireworks.

The violation of firework legislation can result in a £5,000 fine or up to six months in prison.

The campaign comes after a man was left fighting for his life in hospital after lit fireworks were pushed through his letterbox.

Tony Nicholls could reportedly be heard screaming in pain as he and his wife Marie tried to escape the flames at their Birmingham home on Thursday evening.

The 56-year-old is currently being treated for 60 per cent burns and smoke inhalation while his partner broke her leg jumping from a first floor window, the Birmingham Mail reported.

West Midlands Police believe the firework was set off in the hallway and are treating the incident as arson.

Separately, a fireworks display at a hotel in Amesbury, Wiltshire, was cancelled on Saturday after several rockets malfunctioned injuring 14 people who were all treated at the scene.

A similar petition received over 168,000 signatures last year but it was rejected for a parliamentary debate, with business minister Jo Johnson insisting the current regulations worked well.

Responding to this year’s petition, a spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The Government takes the issue of firework safety very seriously. There is legislation in place that controls the sale, use and misuse of fireworks; we have no plans to extend this further.”

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