Posted: Wed 9th Nov 2022

Call for Welsh Government to follow Scotland new firework laws where you could be fined £5k for setting them off at wrong time

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Nov 9th, 2022

A Senedd Member has called for the Welsh Government to follow Scotland’s lead where new rules around the setting off fireworks outside of designated times could lead to hefty fines. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

For many pet owners in Flintshire and across the UK, the past few nights have been heartbreaking as they watch their four-legged friends traumatised by bangs and flashes from pyrotechnics. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The so-called ‘fireworks season’ kicks off well in advance of November 5th and carries on well past New Year celebrations. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

A Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament, where “a fireworks licensing system, with mandatory safety training, for people wishing to purchase and use fireworks” has been introduced. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

It also introduces powers for local authorities to designate firework control zones, restrictions on the supply and use of fireworks, and a new offence to criminalise the supply of fireworks and pyrotechnics to under-18s. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Being in possession of a firework or other pyrotechnic in a public place, or at certain places or events, without reasonable excuse also becomes an offence. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Setting off any fireworks or pyrotechnics outside of permitted hours breach these laws and could leave you with a £90 on-the-spot fine. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

However the maximum fine could be as high as £5,000, and a possible six months jail sentence. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Research by the Kennel Club shows that eight in ten owners (80 per cent) notice significant changes in their dog’s behaviour during fireworks, with almost a third (31 per cent) saying their dog shivers and trembles, and more than a quarter (26 per cent) mentioning unusual excessive barking. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Their research also found there to be a 100 per cent increase in dogs going missing during the fireworks season. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


Last year the RSPCA launched a survey, encouraging the public to share their experiences of fireworks. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Between October 2021 and January 2022 the animal welfare charity received around 11,785 reports of animals in distress. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Most of the reports are related to private displays. Organised local events will generally receive prior notice through advertising and word of mouth. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The timings for these events are also arranged within a timeframe to attract families. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Sadly, private displays are much more unpredictable and harder to regulate. It becomes impossible for neighbours to prepare their pets, horses and livestock properly.” The RSPCA said. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The survey results found that 68 per cent of those animals in distress were impacted by private at-home backyard displays, 94 per cent of those impacted by backyard displays didn’t have prior notice. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Year after year, pet owners, farmers and animal rescuers renew their appeal to prohibit noisy pyrotechnics at this time of year but despite the many petitions very little has been done, except for Scotland. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

A Senedd Member has said Welsh Government should learn from their counterparts in Scotland. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

During Plenary in the Senedd on Tuesday, Delyth Jewell MS called for a statement outlining the Welsh Government’s position on restricting the sale of fireworks. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

She said: “We’ve just had bonfire night, and as with every year, countless animals have been desperately frightened by the noises and the flashes of fireworks not just on one night, but the three, four or five nights surrounding bonfire night as well.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Classic FM had put on soothing music specifically to console people’s pets that were distressed, and that’s a lovely thing, but surely, it really shouldn’t have had to happen.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“There are safety concerns for children when it comes to fireworks as well, and there’s an immense difference between the wonderful professional displays that are put on in our communities and people setting them off in their own gardens.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Ms Jewell said: “Would the Welsh Government be able to learn from the Scottish experience and their fireworks and pyrotechnics Bill, and is this an area where the Welsh Government is seeking to do more?” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I’d welcome a statement setting this out, please.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In response, Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales said, “you do raise a very important point.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I regularly met with my counterparts in the UK Government and also Scotland, because, obviously, it is a reserved matter, and it would need the UK Government to ban the sale of fireworks.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“But I think the important point you make is that it’s not just one night; this has continued, and even last night I could hear fireworks.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

She said: “I think it is certainly something that we would want to look at, to look at the best practice to see if there is anything we could do.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I don’t know if the Minister for Climate Change is continuing to have those discussions with the UK Government counterpart now that we do have a new Government in place, but I think it’s certainly something that we all, as Members of the Senedd, get quite a significant postbag about.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​



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