8th May, 2021

Head of Rugby dog rescue charity urges county council to consider tighter controls on fireworks

Editorial Correspondent 21st Apr, 2021 Updated: 21st Apr, 2021

THE HEAD of a dog rescue charity based in Rugby says proposals to tighten controls and limit volume around firework displays needs to be considered by Warwickshire County Council (WCC).

Anita Twigger, head of operations at Pawprints Dog Rescue, said she was disappointed that Warwick District Council officers have recommended a discussion on the impact of fireworks on animals and vulnerable people is not taken up with WCC.

She said: “It is greatly disappointing an opportunity to make a change to the negative impact that excessively loud fireworks have on pets, wildlife and the vulnerable members within our community has been dismissed. We would urge the council to reconsider this decision and impose a reduction in noise levels to 90dB – which is more than loud enough for public and private displays.

“From our own social media platforms, we are all too aware that unbearably loud fireworks are being used irresponsibly, indiscriminately, and antisocially, purely to cause maximum fear and distress.

“There is a definite shift in feeling around the UK as people grow less tolerant of the endless weeks of something akin to mortar attacks out of the blue.

“We are grateful to those councils who are taking a stand and discontinuing the use of loud fireworks, opting for lower noise or silent ones with the additional measures of advertising in advance any public firework displays. Leading by example, they are encouraging their communities to take the same approach and put the fun back into fireworks.

“We ask that the council reconsiders its position.”

Councillors from Warwick District wanted to raise the issue with the county council following several incidents last year, including pets which bolted in fear and a Leamington cat whose leg was blown off in a deliberate act.

A motion had requested Conservative leaders lobby the government to introduce legislation to limit noise levels of fireworks, and to urge the council to encourage suppliers to stock quieter fireworks.

It also requested a report into how the district could ensure public displays were advertised beforehand, and to promote an awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people.

But WDC officers said a petition logged with the government in 2020, requesting a noise reduction, has gathered little support and that it was unlikely the county council could do little more than ‘request’ retailers sell quieter fireworks.

They also said pre-warnings could only be enforced for displays on council-owned land, adding the council already operated a voluntary safe firework and bonfire registration scheme and listed registered events on its website – although it is not statutory.

The council’s Safety Advisory Group also provides advice to the organisers of large scale public events and where there is ‘inherent risk’.

They added laws and restrictions were already in place around the sale and displays of fireworks, including on when they can be sold and let off, and enforced by police.

A decision will be made on whether to further consider the requests during an executive meeting tomorrow (Thursday April 22).

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