11/03/2006

More limits needed on firework sales


You always know when November 5th is approaching by the fact you suddenly start hearing fireworks going off at 4 o'clock in the afternoon or at midnight. I love fireword displays and I think the whole Guy Fawkes thing is a tradition to savour and preserve. But the moden habit of kids terrorising neighbourhoods with fireworks in the wake of their previous week's halloween horrors, is one we could do without.

The government claims that the tightening up of the laws on selling fireworks two years ago has made significant improvements, but they ignore the fact that it has not sorted the problem of teenagers with fireworks. Clearly the law is not working.

I would personally favour a system them allows the sale of fireworks only to people with a certificate issued by the local authority stating they are running a legitimate professionally organised display. This would cut out 95% of illegal sales almost immediately.

A woman from Kings Lynn today handed in a petition to Downing Street that was signed by 135,000 people asking for only licensed displays to be sold fireworks. This shows the strength of feeling over this issue.

Unauthorised displays in people's gardens might be fun, I know, I've been to many in the past, but there are animal lovers, people with young children and many others who live in fear at this time of the year. There is also the problem faced by those who use guide dogs or hearing dogs, where they face extreme danger if their gods suddenly bolt if a firework goes of without warning.

I'm not a spoil sport and I like the whole Guy Fawkes night tradition, but fireworks are dangerous, the government could do much more, and I wish they would.

3 comments:

tristan said...

Fireworks are dangerous, true, but that's no reason to effectively ban them.

Children who are setting them off should not be able to purchase them, it is illegal to sell them to them, that needs to be enforced.

You cannot ban something because you don't like it. I don't like the fact that my cat gets terrified by fireworks, but that is no reason to call for them to be banned. She doesn't like thunderstorms either, can't ban them.

If people are scared, then help them overcome the fear. Politics is dominated by fear and trying to get people to fear things (kids in hoodies, brown people, young people whatever).

Norfolk Blogger said...

I don't want them banned, I want to limit the sales of them to only thoise running licensed displays. This is the system in operation in places like Australia and many other countries. In these countries they have great firework displays and plenty of them, but because they have limits on who can buy them, they have lower accident rates, their casualty departments at this time of year are no packed with firework victims and the police are able to take swift action against anyone even possessing a firework who does not have a permit for it.

John Wilkes said...

I'm not sure about this. There are plenty of people who are miles from a licensed, professional display and would probably prefer to have a family display at home. One of my best childhood memories is my dad doing a fireworks display for us in the back garden - it was great fun.

I know that occasionally fireworks cause injuries, and it's important that they're kept out of kids' hands. But sometimes we have to accept that there's always going to be risks to certain activities. We can't try to regulate everything until we have a society that spends all its time trying to preserve life, but actually has no life to it.

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