Kate writes a bi-weekly column for the Burton Mail. This column was originally featured in the 13th January print edition.
The highlight of many New Year’s celebrations is watching the London fireworks display on TV. Some even choose to brave the cold and watch in person along the Embankment or another display more local to us in Burton and Uttoxeter.
As an MP, I receive lots of correspondence from people across Burton and Uttoxeter regarding the use of fireworks. Although many people enjoy the big public displays, and the majority of those who use fireworks do so responsibly, I know and appreciate that others, along with farmers and pet owners, can find them a nuisance.
It is worth highlighting that retailers are restricted to selling fireworks during a limited period around specific seasonal celebrations, such as New Year, Bonfire Night, and Diwali. Retailers may only supply fireworks outside these periods if they obtain a licence from their local licensing authority. When it comes to the big, professionally organised public displays, fireworks are only available for sale to people who have undertaken an accredited course of training in pyrotechnics.
It is also the case that local authorities and the police have powers to tackle anti-social behaviour caused by the misuse of fireworks.
To reduce disturbance to both animals and people, there is already a noise level limit of 120 decibels on fireworks for home use and the Government has worked with animal welfare groups to promote safe and considerate use. Furthermore, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to animals by misusing fireworks. Anyone planning a firework display in rural areas should warn neighbouring farmers.
Although there are currently no plans to introduce further legalisation around fireworks, I am keen to know more about this matter and what residents think. I have created a survey on my website and would encourage residents to take part here: www.katekniveton.org.uk/fireworks.