North Kesteven District Council is taking steps to encourage public displays and private households to be considerate when setting off fireworks, to help reduce the impact on people and animals.
Loud and unexpected bangs from fireworks can cause significant distress to domestic pets and farm animals, as well as affecting humans with mental health conditions (such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), autism and hearing problems.
Following a hotly-debated motion passed in May 2021, the Council is pushing for quieter fireworks to be sold, information about public displays to be gathered centrally and the promotion of a Considerate Fireworks Code.
Organisers of local displays are asked to share the details of their events on a new dedicated web page, so that residents who may be impacted can check and prepare accordingly. The simple form for organisers is available on the Council website at n-kesteven.gov.uk/fireworks.
The Council has contacted local retailers, highlighting the issue and requesting they consider stocking fireworks of less than 90 decibels. A letter has also been sent to local MP, Dr Caroline Johnson, asking her to raise the issue in Parliament.
Mark Stuart, Public Protection Manager at North Kesteven District Council said: “Over the years, fireworks have become louder and more easily accessible with displays and households continuing to let fireworks off throughout the winter. What used to be confined to Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve has, for many, become a continual noise nuisance.
“Many household pets are caused severe distress by loud noises; they can also injure themselves – sometimes seriously – as they attempt to run away or hide from the noise. Less well-known is the impact fireworks can have on farm animals and, increasingly, on people too.
“The loud bangs can cause people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to experience panic attacks and flashbacks – especially veterans of our armed forces. On top of this, people with autism spectrum disorders and hearing problems can also be negatively affected.”
The Council is asking residents who want to release fireworks to take note of their Considerate Fireworks Code, and to give careful thought to when and how they use fireworks. The code is as follows:
- Tell your neighbours about your plans so that they can make arrangements for vulnerable people and pets that might be afraid.
- Consider buying less noisy fireworks. Your supplier should be able to tell you the types of firework they are selling.
- Only buy fireworks from licensed sellers – fireworks should have the product safety marking BS7114 or equivalent and carry a ‘CE’ mark.
- Consider timing – stick to celebration dates where possible, such as Fireworks Night, Diwali, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year.
- Remember that fireworks cannot be let off between 11pm and 7am except on Bonfire Night (when the curfew is midnight) and New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am. These curfews are legal regulations and are enforced by the police.
- Make sure you let off your fireworks in an open garden area – noise bounces off buildings and smoke and pollution can build up in enclosed spaces.
- Keep your pets safe by keeping them inside. For any small animals that live outside give them material and bedding to burrow in.
- Read all the safety warnings on the box of fireworks before you use them. If you don’t understand the instructions, don’t use the firework.
- Let the Council know if you are having an event and it will be listed on our website to inform local residents – n-kesteven.gov.uk/fireworks.
North Kesteven District Council wants the public to be able to enjoy fireworks, but in a way that reduces the negative impact on others. The Council also reminds residents to ensure they are familiar with safety procedures to minimise the risk of injury. The Fireworks Code can be found at www.rospa.com/home-safety/advice/fireworks-safety.