Should fireworks be restricted? The arguments for and against

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A petition is calling on the government to only allow fireworks to be sold to licensed venues for displays and not to the public.

The petition states that ‘fireworks are a nuisance to the public. They scare animals, young children and people with a phobia.’
Should fireworks be subject to restrictions?

FOR - Holly Barber, RSPCA campaigns manager

Many pet owners will be familiar with the terror experienced by their dog or cat when fireworks are set off.

The sudden loud noises and bright flashing lights are very frightening to some animals. Every year, the RSPCA receives hundreds of calls about animals distressed by fireworks. It’s estimated that 45 percent of dogs show signs of fear when they hear the explosions. Some animals, including horses and livestock, end up injured - or tragically even lose their life - from getting spooked by the fireworks.

In 2011 the RSPCA received 255 calls regarding animals and fireworks, and the number of calls has steadily risen to a peak of 533 in 2017. We’d like the government to listen to the people and make some changes to regulations.

We’re calling for the private use of fireworks to be restricted to just four days of the year - on Bonfire Night, Diwali, New Years Eve and Chinese New Year. We also want the maximum noise level on fireworks to be reduced, for all public firework displays to be licensed and for all private firework boxes to be labelled as ‘loud’ or ‘low noise’. And the public is strongly behind this. We are urging people to add their name to the 330,000 who have already signed the FAB Firework Abatement Campaign petition in just three weeks. People can also email the government via the RSPCA’s own website.

AGAINST - Steve Raper, vice chairman of the British Fireworks Association

Each year fireworks are enjoyed by around 10 million people in the UK celebrating the long tradition of Guy Fawkes and Diwali Festival of Light.

People love to get together and celebrate at home with family and friends. Sadly, this period of activity brings out the anti-firework campaigners who just seem determined to spoil the fun of the majority for the ideals of a vociferous minority. They have run firework petitions for the past few years and have produced heavily manipulated figures, and encouraging people to make multiple votes, to try and support their cause; each year the government has responded in that there is no need to make any changes to the law. Firework injuries are at an all time low. We can back up our argument with government and NHS statistics.

The industry is extremely heavily regulated as it is. We are told what we can sell, when and who we can sell it to. It is a perfectly safe and legal product if the instructions printed clearly on every item are followed. We encourage safe practice and responsible use - but here lies the main issue. It is the irresponsible users that spoil it. There are laws in place now to prevent this and we would like to see the police and Trading Standards use these powers more rigorously. If we can ban the hooligan then there will be no requirement to spoil the enjoyment of millions.