The Case for Restricting the Sale of Fireworks to Licenced Displays

I started a petition about this on the government website, sponsored by six firefighters, but it was rejected because there was already a petition on the subject. I’ll be promoting this one I intend to promote this one for now, deadline is 7 December, and may present mine again sometime after that.

Apart from a general warning of the dangers, this petition does not give specific reasons for restricting sales as mine did. So if I’m going to promote it I need to explain why. In addition to distress inadvertently caused to pets, wildlife and people suffering from PTSD and people with dementia, fireworks also facilitate deliberate antisocial behaviour – which often involves elderly people and pets.

People who think they’re using fireworks responsibly may not consider their impact on their neighbours and pets, although they can alleviate the harm by using silent fireworks. They still have an environmental impact though, even when they’re unused.

Fireworks cause extensive air pollution in a short amount of time, leaving metal particles, dangerous toxins, harmful chemicals and smoke in the air for hours and days. Some of the toxins never fully decompose or disintegrate. Exposure to fine particles islinked to negative health implications, such as asthma attacks and heart attacks. , Those particles that fall to the ground often contain propellant chemicals and colorants, which find their way into the soil and our water systems.

The professional grade fireworks Sydney’s firework display are made from biodegradable paper, leaving no compounds or chemicals wafting through the air. For any residual pollution the city purchases carbon offsets to support clean and renewable energy projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Horses and farm livestock are easily frightened by loud noises and sudden bright lights and can be at risk of injuring themselves on fencing or farm equipment if startled. There is also an increased risk of road traffic accidents due to a startled deer running in front of a car.

All this before I’ve even addressed antisocial behaviour such as that described in the Liverpool Echo of 4 October 2022. Kids ‘terrified’ as fireworks thrown at cars in ‘nightmare’ town.

Chris Williamson was still an MP when this subject was last debated in parliament. He testified to hooligans in his constituency strapping rockets to a cat and setting them alight.

In Newcastle, and probably elsewhere, firefighters have responded to fires deliberately started on waste land and been pelted with fireworks on arrival. One of the firefighters who sponsored my petition was involved in one such incident. The latest incident I’m aware of was on 26 September in West Yorkshire. ‘Lives put at risk’ as youths pelt firefighters with bricks as they tackle Yorkshire blaze.

Police have also come under attack, unprovoked! Even if it were in response to a case of police brutality it wouldn’t be justified, the answer to violence is never more violence!

Local Authorities are taking action to ban the sale of fireworks to anyone under 18 and UK government will no doubt say that existing laws are sufficient to prosecute those guilty of such antisocial behaviour as I’ve described, but it’s not working! The emphasis should be on preventing this behaviour from happening in the first place.

I hope my arguments will persuade people to sign the petition, although I would have more hope of them being presented in Parliament if it were my own petition. That’s life.

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