At this time of year firework displays are plentiful including, of course, on the 5thNovember and the surrounding dates.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions things have been different this year, with far less organised events and instead an increased usage at private homes. This has led to some residents complaining of excessively loud displays closer to homes, and the RSPCA are calling for greater regulation of fireworks sold to the public to prevent fright and danger to animals.
The RSPCA proposals are to both local councils and government, including a demand to bring in legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks, to counter a perceived increase in the noise of fireworks over recent years.
Speaking about this Labour councillor Mark Jones (Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for the environment and streetscene) gave his backing to the campaign and outlined what the council intends to do:
“Fireworks are a joyous thing and create a sense of occasion and excitement. And in this most challenging of times, these celebrations were even more poignant and meaningful. Unfortunately though this has led to some residents complaining of excessively loud displays closer to homes, and the RSPCA are calling for greater regulation of fireworks sold to the public to prevent fright and danger to animals.
“I’ve always celebrated my birthday on Bonfire night, it is by far my most favourite tradition. Having a bonfire and fireworks in our garden and eating hotpot to keep warm, but I completely understand this must be done in a proper way which causes minimum disruption to others.
“Locally we are committed to promoting public awareness about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people – including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks – and we are encouraging local suppliers to not stock excessively loud fireworks for public display.
“However this encouragement can only go so far, and I have written to government asking that they show leadership on this issue by reducing the noise that fireworks are currently permitted – to a more sociable and animal friendly level.
“I believe government should look at imposing a restriction on the sale of fireworks to the public to a maximum decibel level of 90db, down from the current 120db.
“This is what the RSPCA are calling for and we support this. It is not an arbitrary figure but something which many organisations have said would be less damaging to human and animal ears. Indeed, the Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention have reported that loud noise of 120 dB can cause immediate harm to human ears, and this will also surely impact animals significantly.
“I want to repeat that fireworks when properly used are brilliant, and I certainly don’t want to stop people using them – whether for public or private displays. The issue here is the increasing noise, and we want to see this addressed”.
Note to editors- the council have responded to the RSPCA to say that many of their recommendations are already in action, but that SCC will ensure that all the recommendations will be enacted going forwards:
- requiring all public firework displays within the local authority boundaries to be advertised in advance of the event, allowing residents to take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people
- actively promoting a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people – including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks
- encourage local suppliers of fireworks to stock ‘quieter’ fireworks for public display.
The council already asks that organisers notify neighbouring residential properties and further details of guidance around organising firework displays are on the council’s website, SCC also ask for organisers of firework displays to notify the council beforehand.
Attached –Letter from Labour councillor Mark Jones (Cabinet Member for Environment and Streetscene) to Alok Sharma MP (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)