We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

A Quieter Bang

FireworksIn October the Lib Dem Group of Tim Prater and Gary Fuller proposed to Folkestone and Hythe District Council a motion on Fireworks. It got massive majority support from Council - 27 votes for, none against, 2 abstentions. It read:

That the Council takes the following action:

1. Encourage all publicly organised firework displays within the district area to be advertised online in advance of the event by offering or signposting a free listing service, so that residents can both enjoy the celebrations and take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people;
2. Promote a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people and the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks, such as asking people to let neighbours know about private displays in advance, and the penalties for causing a noise nuisance late at night where not allowed by legislation;
3. Encourage retailers to follow the lead of Sainsburys in withdrawing the sale of fireworks to the public;
4. Develop and promote a voluntary local code on firework sale licenced premises to promote quieter firework options;
5. Write to the UK Government urging them to introduce legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90dB for those sold to the public for private display;
6. Encourage the public to notify KCC Trading Standards of retail outlets that are not correctly applying the regulations of the selling of fireworks both in terms of age-appropriateness, licensing and CE markings;
7. Given the damage they cause and risk they present, institute a ban on the release of sky lanterns from F&HDC land, and write to the UK Government urging them to consider banning sky lanterns in the UK in total.

Tim has followed up on this recently. checking what has been done, and if the letter to Government actually had been sent. Seems not, but it is good to be able to say that it has now gone this week, and its pretty good:

The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State
Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
House of Commons

22nd March, 2021

Dear Secretary of State

I am writing to you on behalf of Folkestone and Hythe District Council in respect of a motion passed by Full Council in October 2020 to ask that consideration is given by your department to amending the Fireworks Regulations 2004 to introduce the following:

1. A maximum noise level of fireworks limited to 90dB for those sold to the public for private display;
2. To institute a national ban on the release of sky lanterns.

In response to public concerns, the Council passed a wide ranging motion in October 2020 to promote the safe and responsible use of fireworks. Fireworks when carried out as part of a well-advertised public display can be a great community event however too often fireworks are used in an anti-social manner, let off at unexpected times, disturbing residents and causing distress to animals. Limiting the maximum noise level would mitigate this impact. A recent OPSS report (2020) noted that animals particularly dogs are more sensitive to the sound impact of conventional fireworks. It also highlighted the risks to livestock like pigs and cattle, which is a concern for farming communities.

The risks from sky lanterns are well understood and the RSPCA have asked that the ban that was introduced in Wales on council land in 2018 is extended to England. The Council motion in October banned locally the launch of sky lanterns from council land but this will only have a limited effect. A national ban on launching from all land and a restriction on the public sale of pre-constructed sky lanterns would be a more effective control measure. Unlike fireworks, which when carried out as part of a professional display with fallout zones can be launched safely, sky lanterns are uncontrolled, creating debris, danger to animals and a fire risk.

I would ask that you give this your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr David Monk
Leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council

Tim says:

"I'm pleased the letter has gone as per the motion from the Council. I await the response from Government with interest.

"In the meantime, I'm following up on some of the other points of the motion: hopefully we'll be able to see progress on those too soon."