Every year as we approach Guy Fawkes Day constituents contact me with concerns about the use of fireworks in their neighbourhood. Irresponsible use of fireworks can cause a nuisance, cause distress for pets and young children and alarm elderly residents.
Although this year’s celebrations are passed, I thought it would be useful to give an update on this issue as your Member of Parliament. Fireworks can, of course, be very dangerous and I am glad the use and sale of them are controlled. Events, where fireworks are used, should be well planned and safety should be paramount.
Firework regulations allow fireworks for home use to be sold during the traditional firework periods of Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali. Suppliers who wish to sell fireworks outside the traditional periods must comply with stringent conditions before being granted a licence by their local licensing authority. This means the availability and use of fireworks outside the traditional periods have been greatly reduced.
The regulations also created a curfew preventing the use of fireworks between 11 pm and 7 am 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.
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.
Although there is some use of fireworks outside the traditional periods, the Government believes that the majority of people who use fireworks do so at the appropriate times of year and have a sensible and responsible attitude towards them. There are no plans at the moment to place further limitations on their use.