‘Missed the point, again’: Disappointment at government’s response to fireworks inquiry *H&H Plus*

  • H&H garners reaction to the government’s response to the inquiry that involved consultations with groups including the RSPCA, the British Fireworks Association, the National Police Chiefs Council, and the National Fire Chiefs Council...

    A government response to an intensive inquiry into the irresponsible use of fireworks has been met with disappointment.

    More than 750,000 people signed petitions relating to use of fireworks over the past three years, prompting an investigation by the petitions committee in 2019.

    The inquiry involved consultations and evidence from groups including the RSPCA, the British Fireworks Association, the National Police Chiefs Council, and the National Fire Chiefs Council.

    This ended with a report, submitted to government in November — and the response to this has been met with frustration.

    The government has responded to each recommendation made, but the committee’s reaction is that it does not go far enough.

    “This is a disappointing response from the government to our fireworks inquiry and, when normal business resumes, we will be pursuing this issue further,” said petitions committee chair Catherine McKinnell.

    A statement from the committee added that government has agreed to the recommendation to coordinate a major public awareness campaign, but has not accepted many of the others.

    For example, the committee called on the government to lead a review, working with animal welfare experts and the fireworks industry looking at the effects of firework noise on animal welfare, with a view to setting a workable reduced maximum decibel limit.

    The government replied that the Office for Product Safety and Standards has commissioned research into the average decibel level of fireworks alongside collating data for the fireworks evidence base.

    “This will help inform what further work might be appropriate, including with animal welfare groups and the fireworks industry,” states the response, adding this will happen by autumn 2020.

    Julie Doorne of campaign group FAB Fireworks Abatement, told H&H that “once again” the government has missed the point.

    “This isn’t about the illegal fireworks and people throwing them in the street, although that is an issue,” she said. “The main thing is that fireworks are legal 16 hours a day, 365 days a year and you don’t know when they are going to happen. They miss the point every single time.”

    She added: “You cannot educate people who do not want to be educated.”

    Ms Doorne said the suggestion to reduce decibel limits slightly will have little effect, and that she is “grateful” for the petitions committee’s strong response.

    “They are the ones on the front line in that they are the ones who see all the petitions that are put forward when people feel they have nowhere to go.”

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