As we approach Halloween and Bonfire Night, many people will be concerned about the likely increase in anti-social behaviour in our local communities that can accompany both of these occasions.
It is important of course, that children, families and young people have the opportunity to enjoy themselves and take part in activities. It is a chance to dress up, celebrate and have fun – especially welcome given the difficult times recently that we have all had to face up to.
However, I am already receiving complaints from residents in some parts of Llanelli about the irresponsible behaviour of a minority of individuals using this time of year as an excuse to misuse fireworks and create problems for other.
That is why I think now is the time for whole area of fireworks law to be looked at again.
Fireworks displays run by local charities and
organisations can often provide a safe and organised way for people to enjoy
fireworks, while promoting community togetherness and raising funds for local
causes. However, I believe we should look at how we can better protect people,
animals and the planet from the misuse of fireworks, and the stress and anxiety
it can cause to smaller children, older people and those who suffer from mental
health issues, as well as to pets and livestock.
Since January 2005, the sale of fireworks to the public has been prohibited, except from licensed traders.
However, fireworks can be sold by unlicensed traders for
Chinese New Year, Diwali, Bonfire Night and New Year. On the use of
fireworks, under the Fireworks Regulations 2004, it is an offence to use
fireworks after 11pm and before 7am without permission, except on permitted
fireworks nights, when the times are extended. The regulations also allow
fireworks use by local authority employees to put on displays permitted by the
local authority, or for a national public celebration.
Listening to the experiences of several of my constituents, I believe it is clear that when it comes to our firework regulations, the law has not kept pace with developments and the UK Government should look at them to determine the changing impact of fireworks and whether any changes are needed. It needs, for example, to address the growing calls for fireworks use to be permitted only in public displays or at certain times of year, as well as to look at the current decibel level cap.
This is not about stopping people having fun but making sure that it is done is a safe, responsible and acceptable way.
I very much hope that everyone in my Llanelli
constituency – whether they will be participating in Halloween and Bonfire
Night celebrations or not – are able to enjoy the next few weeks in a stress-free
and relaxed manner as much as they can.