National Campaign for Firework Safety
Our aim is to promote the safe use of  fireworks


Read All About It - What's been said in the news in 2002
Part One January

The Scotsman 29 January 2002 Restrict sales
After witnessing the irresponsible conduct of so many people in relation to the use of fireworks during the past few months it is now time to call a halt to the public sale of such items. The law in relation to their use is unenforceable, and it is mainly minors who are the principal offenders, terrifying animals and elderly people. Their use, therefore, should be restricted to organised displays only.  J B, Edinburgh

This is Worcestershire 29 January 2002, Positively excellent!
The father of a schoolboy seriously injured in a firework accident has praised Worcester hospital staff for the care his son has received.  Tom Munn still faces a traumatic wait to discover if surgeons can save his eye. But his father Graham wants to thank doctors and nurses at Ronkswood Hospital's A&E department, and staff at the Microbiology laboratory at Castle Street. 
"It's all negative news about the NHS at the moment and we get a lot of that," said Mr Munn.  "People talk about that and all the good work just gets forgotten. The urgency and treatment given to Tom have been excellent.  "The Castle Street lab has provided a daily serum outside of normal hours, seven days a week, and between initial hospitalisation and the pioneering operation at the Nottingham Queen's Medical Centre.  "I cannot praise enough the attention shown to Tom during the past three months from all the hospitals and the essential nursing staff." 
The 12-year-old, of Cherry St, Cherry Orchard, returned to Nunnery Wood High School last Monday for the first time since the accident last October on the cricket pitch off Evendine Close, in Battenhall.  He has undergone pioneering surgery in Nottingham since then, the first operation being in November.
"It's nice to be back at school and see my friends," said Tom. "When I was first off school, they gave me a few books to work from but I'm glad to be back now."  His father has called for a new law to ban the sale of fireworks, except for organised demonstrations.  "I went to see MP Mike Foster at one of his surgeries," said Mr Munn.  "And he saw where I was coming from with my argument. He said that there's a motion going through Parliament at the moment but it's nowhere near as strong as I would like.  "It's really nothing like the sort of controls I think there should be. "I can't see why they won't restrict fireworks to displays, because the amount of people who would get hurt each year would be minimal."
Worcester firefighters said it was the worst fireworks accident they had seen in years and warned the public about mishandling explosives.

Scottish Evening News 28 January 2002, Undercover mission in fireworks fight
Teenage council staff dressed in school uniform are set to be recruited to catch shopkeepers selling fireworks to children.  The move comes after repeated complaints from the public about children obtaining fireworks and then causing nuisance or danger.  It also follows the proposed lifting of Scotland's ban on prosecutions where children have been used to gather evidence. Under the law change it was proposed pilot schemes be set up to "test purchases" of cigarettes, drink and fireworks by children.
A report to Edinburgh City Council today revealed that 20 shops were officially warned about firework safety and sales policy in the run-up to last November 5.  There were a dozen complaints alleging sales to children, and 13 about disturbance caused by fireworks. Officials also believe fireworks have got louder, possibly because smaller rockets and bangers have been banned, leading to more sales of more powerful devices.  They want the Government to look again at what types of fireworks can be sold to the public in a bid to reduce disturbance, particularly to the elderly. One retailer is set to be reported to the procurator fiscal for an undisclosed offence.
The council has already called for a licensing system for shops selling fireworks - something which the UK government does not currently support.
Westminster plans instead to tighten up the existing registration system. Mike Drewry, the authority's director of environmental services, said they had "real difficulties" enforcing the law because they are not meant to use children to gather evidence to be used in court.   In a report to councillors, he says: "It is therefore proposed that we tackle the problem by recruiting young people aged 16 to carry out a test purchase survey of fireworks. These young people would be employed by the council, and being 16 they would not be classed legally as children.
"Those selected would need to appear to be no older than 16 in order to avoid the trader arguing that they looked 18. For example they could be in school uniform."
No court proceedings would be taken against shops during the test survey, but the council would be able to warn them about their conduct.
Councillor Brian Fallon, the council's environmental and consumer services leader, said he also had personal misgivings about getting under-18s involved. But he added: "I have been convinced by my officials that it's the only way forward. We need some way to get information against the small minority who break the law. If we get information we can warn them and hopefully that will do the trick."
He said the council still believed a full-blown licensing system was needed. That would allow the authority to refuse permission for firework sales unless a retailer met strict requirements.  Firework sales hit a record high in the Capital last year with shops selling out of stock. Councillors reported a surge in complaints from members of the public about the number of fireworks let off in the run-up to November 5.
Midlothian Council asked the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to investigate what can be done to introduce tighter rules on sales.  Calls for tighter restrictions also came after a fire at a warehouse where fireworks were stored blazed for eight hours after a suspected fire-raising attack on October 25. Emergency services were unable to enter the Edinburgh Card and Gift Centre in West Bowling Green Street because of fireworks exploding in the premises.

Birmingham Post 26 January 2002 Punishment 'pathetic' for arsonist, 12
Transport chiefs have criticised as "pathetic" a sentence handed out to a 12-year-old girl who torched a school bus.  The girl was given a 12-hour reparation order and told to pay 55 costs after she admitted the arson which wrecked a new double-decker.  The blaze caused 27,000 of damage to the vehicle last November.
Operators Travel West Midlands believes it lost 40,000 in fares while it was off the road being repaired.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted causing criminal damage by arson when she appeared at Coventry Youth Court.  TWM is now considering legal action to appeal against the sentence.
Corporate affairs director Phil Bateman said: "This sentence is pathetic. We are totally disillusioned and demoralised with what has happened.  "We have spent 1.6 million on a CCTV system aboard our buses, and sentences like this are a slap in the face.  "What sort of message does it send out to the youngsters? We are not part of the hanging and flogging brigade, but this punishment does not go far enough, and fills the whole industry with despair.  "It certainly does not fit the crime and is little deterrent to prevent future attacks.  "The 55 costs is not even the price of a Gameboy, and the reparation order is more like a detention at school.  The only thing missing is the lines to go with it."
The fire started on the top deck of the bus near the War Memorial Park in Coventry just before 4pm on November 1 last year.  Firefighters who tackled the 10ft flames said it was fortunate there were no passengers as the fire took hold otherwise they could easily have been dealing with fatalities.  Driver Balbir Dhillon had dropped off the last group of youngsters at a stop in Quinton Road, Cheylesmore, just minutes before he smelled smoke and alerted emergency services. He was not hurt but was left severely shaken when he saw the roof of the bus melt before his eyes. The intense heat blew out the windows and poisonous gas fumes poured out of the vehicle as firemen brought the blaze under control.
An investigation revealed it could have been started by a firework or a lighter.

This is Lancashire: 26 January 2002:  Rocket for rogue firework traders
A campaign to stop unscrupulous traders selling potentially deadly fireworks has been launched by a Bolton MP.
David Crausby wants the unwelcome trend of abuse and misuse by fireworks extinguished -- and is pressing the Government to review current regulations.
He has called for a clampdown on rogue traders renting cheap premises in the town in the weeks leading up to Bonfire Night, accusing them of putting profit before the lives of Bolton children.
Mr Crausby, who has armed his campaign with articles from the BEN, says concern is also growing about the loud noise of fireworks which seems to get louder every year.
"Fireworks start going off in October and carry on intermittently up until Christmas," he said. "The bangs and whizzes include explosions more appropriate with a military exercise, rather than for the back gardens and streets of Bolton.
"No one seems to be able to wait for Guy Fawkes night any longer. I am not a killjoy and fireworks that provide a glittering display in the privacy of your own back yard are less of a nuisance."
Under the present law very loud fireworks could be deemed a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. It gives Bolton Council the authority to deafen noise nuisance from premises and land.
But the MP, who supported the BEN's 3,500-name petition calling for a fireworks ban in 1999, said in practice this was very difficult to enforce.
"The current legislation is not working and I shall continue to highlight the concerns of many people in Bolton and fight to make the necessary changes to curb the indiscriminate, inappropriate and inconsiderate use of fireworks."
Mr Crausby has spoken in Parliament and written to Trade and Industry Minister Patricia Hewitt and junior minister Melanie Johnson, enclosing copies of the BEN showing pictures of the unwelcome trend of abuse.

Northern Echo 25 January 2002 Fireworks Control
Regarding the comments made by Pearl Hall (HAS, Jan 21), this Government, along with previous governments, probably dating back to Guy Fawkes himself, is not concerned with the issue of fireworks control.  This is because they are on another planet, where clouds are low and political heads are firmly embedded in them.  They do not see this problem as a political swingometer vote winner. Why? Because firework displays in the main, take place on November 5, one day in every year. Politicians have 364 other days to forget the mayhem, the cruelty and the fear.  Some shop owners will continue to sell fireworks to anyone who cares to purchase them. Fireworks, in the wrong hands, are weapons. They maim, can kill and they can certainly destroy lives. Unfortunately, most politicians are detached from the real world. Yes, we need a law which clearly regulates the use of fireworks. Common-sense should not mean a total ban on having fun. If those in power will not listen to the people, then next time, give your vote to someone who perhaps will. Until words stop falling on political deaf ears, we will continue to rely on those outside of politics who continue to fight for the common people. - J N, Carrville.

This is Essex  25 January 2002:  Castle Point: Firework fear in borough
Fireworks being let off throughout the year are turning Castle Point into a "war zone", councillors said last night.
Castle Point Council's community safety committee agreed the problem with fireworks had got out of hand and something had to be done.
In some cases fireworks the size of champagne bottles, containing class one explosives, had been let off.

This is Local London 25 January 2002 Fireworks should be kept for November 5
I agree with Wendy Walker that the time must come for the regulation of the sale of fireworks.  I also agree Bonfire Night should be restricted to one or two evenings and not all year round, and that fireworks should only be sold from November 1 and not three months before and nine months after.  Also the type of fireworks should be restricted to soft bangs and not ones that sound like war has started.   Some fireworks are far too loud and go on for too long, thus waking up young babies and children, plus adults, as some selfish people start their explosions at 11pm at night.  My dog, plus many other dogs, goes into a barking frenzy and please spare a thought for the birds roosting at night. No wonder we have a shortage of birds as most have probably died of a heart attack due to the sudden explosion of a nearby firework.  Fireworks at any time are dangerous and a disturbance to our peace.   They should be restricted to organised fireworks displays only and should not be allowed to be available to the public.  Not only is it the Savacentre that sell fireworks but also garden centres and many newsagents.  J T, Raynes Park,

This is The North East 25 January 2002 Fireworks Control

Regarding the comments made by Pearl Hall (HAS, Jan 21), this Government, along with previous governments, probably dating back to Guy Fawkes himself, is not concerned with the issue of fireworks control. This is because they are on another planet, where clouds are low and political heads are firmly embedded in them.  They do not see this problem as a political swingometer vote winner. Why? Because firework displays in the main, take place on November 5, one day in every year. Politicians have 364 other days to forget the mayhem, the cruelty and the fear.  Some shop owners will continue to sell fireworks to anyone who cares to purchase them. Fireworks, in the wrong hands, are weapons. They maim, can kill and they can certainly destroy lives. Unfortunately, most politicians are detached from the real world. Yes, we need a law which clearly regulates the use of fireworks. Common-sense should not mean a total ban on having fun.  If those in power will not listen to the people, then next time, give your vote to someone who perhaps will. Until words stop falling on political deaf ears, we will continue to rely on those outside of politics who continue to fight for the common people. - J N, Carrville.


This is Essex  24 January 2002:  Hadleigh, Thundersley: War memorial appeal after vandals strike again
Shocked Royal British Legion members vowed to launch an appeal to save a war memorial attacked by vandals and eroded by the weather.
Jack Freeman, vice-chairman of Hadleigh and Thundersley branch of the Royal British Legion told how Hadleigh war memorial needed a huge cash boost to preserve it for the future.
He estimated it could cost several thousand pounds to pay for the necessary work.   At first, they left puddles of urine, but he added: "Then they put a big firework up against the plinth and set it off so now there is a big gunpowder mark.
The British Legion branch wants to replace these with metal name boards so Hadleigh people who died serving their country will never be forgotten.

icNewcastle The Journal  21 January 2002:   Six killed in fireworks explosion
China: Six people were killed and two others injured when fireworks in an illegal workshop exploded in southern China's Hunan province.
The explosion took place on Saturday in an illegal fireworks workshop in the city of Changsha.
The dead were owner Liu Junping; his wife and 13-year-old son; and three female employees. Two other female employees were seriously injured, county officials said. The cause of the accident was still under investigation.
Fireworks explosions kill hundreds each year in China, where pyrotechnics are especially popular during celebrations of the lunar Chinese New Year, which begin on February 12.
Earlier this month, an explosion at a fireworks factory in Hunan province killed six people and prompted the temporary closure of 170 firecracker producers

East Lothian Courier, 18 January 2002, Warning on danger of powerful fireworks
The possibility of seeking a ban on the public sale of fireworks and the licensing of groups organising public displays is to be put out for consultation throughout the county. And one councillor warned of a 2 firework on sale that could blow a hole in a brick wall.
The move could affect Rotarians, Round Tablers and East Lothian Yacht Club which frequently organise fireworks displays around East Lothian.
East Lothian Councillors were told on Tuesday of a letter from Angus Council which had already agreed to call on both the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments for early legislation to end their sale and extend legislation to regulate and license public displays.
Members were in general agreement on the move and chief executive John Lindsay said that the letter was one of several from local authorities with similar proposals, including the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.

This is Wiltshire 18 January 2002: Let's keep fireworks for displays
I was delighted to read in the Advertiser (January 12) that MP Julia Drown is attempting to have a bill passed restricting use of fireworks throughout the year.  I had thought the firework season well and truly over but at around 7pm this evening yet more fireworks went off sending both my cats running for cover. It took my youngest cat two hours to pluck up the courage to venture back out from behind the sofa.  When I was a child, fireworks seemed to be restricted to bonfire night only. These days, however, they seem to be used for any occasion and are still on sale in December ready for New Year. It is impossible to keep animals safe indoors because owners can't know when, where or by whom fireworks will be let off.  Personally I enjoy organised displays but find it frustrating and annoying when they go off at any time throughout the year. This year the disruption started weeks before firework night and has been fairly constant ever since. I would love to see fireworks restricted to organised displays only and not available to the general public.  T M B. Stratone Village, Swindon

This is Brighton and Hove 17 January 2002 Spark of hope
My wife and I were very interested in the comments in the article on firework laws, along with Ivor Caplin's efforts to introduce restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks.  We have been concerned for a long time about the increase in use of what are obviously very powerful, noisy fireworks. Traditionally, of course, we have come to expect their use on and around November 5.  There are other occasions such as carnivals where displays are usually provided.  These are, however, advertised in advance, thus allowing for precautions to be prepared.  We would like to see a ban on the use of any fireworks after 11pm, except when used by an approved organisation as part of an organised display.  Perhaps some form of licence system could be introduced. In the Heathfield area, fireworks were being let off well after 1.30am for the New Year.  In short, we totally agree with the comments made in the report and would appreciate our comments being passed on to Mr Caplin.  N W, Heathfield

This is Lancashire  17 January 2002:  Shops must get firework message
As we approach the end of the annual three month long celebration of Guy Fawkes night, I have just read in the BEN that local (Leigh) MP Andy Burnham has sent a petition to Tony Blair from Leigh residents calling for the crackdown on fireworks. This, along with the famous BEN petition of some two years ago, will, by now, have been filed in a skip somewhere around Downing Street.
However, there is a way to eradicate this problem. If fireworks could not be purchased, they could not be let off. So, what is needed is for people to boycott any shop that sells fireworks.
No easy task. But, to the best of my knowledge, I manage to do so and have done for the past couple of years.
In doing this, I get personal satisfaction, but no doubt have little effect on the shops I boycott, as the loss of my custom would be minimal. However, if great numbers of people did the same, then shopkeepers may have to start to compare their profits from the sales of fireworks, against the losses incurred by the yearly loss of trade on all the other commodities they sell.
While legislation is as it is, this is the only way to cut out this annual nuisance.
Pet lovers and the elderly, who are scared almost to death for months on end, should get together with like-minded friends and family and boycott their local retailers now.
If you regularly use a certain shop, you will soon be missed by the shopkeeper and no doubt asked "why don't we see you any more?"   Tell them why and see if they get the message.
Enough is Enough   A.

This is Lancashire: 17 January 2002:  Man denies threat to burn police
A man at the centre of a police siege in a Golborne terraced street denied sprinkling petrol around his home or threatening to burn police.
At Bolton Crown Court, Alun Evans also denied threatening to blow the entire street up by igniting the petrol and said he had not shouted abuse at officers surrounding his home.
Evans also denied threatening police with a firework, which he said was left over from bonfire night the previous year.
The trial continues.

This is Mid Sussex   17 January 2002: Spark of hope
My wife and I were very interested in the comments in the article on firework laws, along with Ivor Caplin's efforts to introduce restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks.
We have been concerned for a long time about the increase in use of what are obviously very powerful, noisy fireworks.
Traditionally, of course, we have come to expect their use on and around November 5.
There are other occasions such as carnivals where displays are usually provided.
These are, however, advertised in advance, thus allowing for precautions to be prepared.
We would like to see a ban on the use of any fireworks after 11pm, except when used by an approved organisation as part of an organised display.
Perhaps some form of licence system could be introduced. In the Heathfield area, fireworks were being let off well after 1.30am for the New Year.
In short, we totally agree with the comments made in the report and would appreciate our comments being passed on to Mr Caplin.    N W,  Heathfield

The Guardian 15 January, 2002:  Firework Ban after fatal spark
The manager of a Chinese fireworks factory caused a deadly explosion by using a scythe to cut fuses, it was revealed yesterday. Six people died at the factory in Yongzhou, Hunan province.
The manager, who was among the dead, was apparently trying to step up output in time for next month's Chinese New Year, when fireworks are in most demand, when his scythe caused a spark.
The plant was operating without a licence when the blast occurred on January 10. Eleven local officials have been punished and another 170 small factories in the area have been closed.
The neighbouring province of Jiangxi said after a string of similar accidents that it would ban fireworks production, putting more than 200,000 employees, and thousands of villagers who assemble fireworks in their homes, out of work.
An explosion there last month killed 14, officially, but local newspapers have published a list of 21 dead and allegations of a cover-up.
The ban is supposed to be enforced by the end of the year. Critics accuse the authorities of taking the easy way out.   "What laughable logic," a contributor to a website run by the official People's Daily wrote. "When accidents occur one should find out the cause, not use the blunt instrument of closure."
Other critics predict that the ban will never be enforced, citing similar examples in the mining industry, in which thousands of workers die every year.
Fireworks earn Jiangxi more than 30m a year in taxes. Hunan is another centre of production.

icLiverpool 15 January 2002   New curbs likely on sale of fireworks
Fireworks may come under new sales restrictions on Merseyside.
Fire chiefs and councillors are considering new rules in an effort to reduce the number of firework-related incidents, which cost Merseyside Fire Authority nearly 250,000 last year.
Other proposals include the introduction of purchase licences.
Mike Harris, spokesman for Merseyside Fire Service, said: "The use of fireworks last year appeared to be far more aggressive, and numerous concerns were expressed by members of the public.
"We had them being used as implements to threaten people, and the elderly felt particularly vulnerable. There were also incidents of children throwing fireworks at traffic.
"Luckily there were no serious injuries last year but we fear if stricter legislation is not put into place the consequences this year could be far more serious."
A working party, including the police, trading standards officials, the fire service and other interested parties, has been set up to look at ways of enforcing the new rules.
These latest ideas will be discussed at a meeting at the end of the month.
Coun Richard Kemp, executive member for community safety on Liverpool city council and leader of the Liberal Democrats on Merseyside Fire Authority, said: "It may sound as if we are trying to be killjoys.
"We are not trying to stop families enjoying fireworks, we are just trying to stop the hooligans abusing them."
Juvenile crime rates in Liverpool jumped by 29pc in October. During the same month police officers were called to 1,225 incidents concerning fireworks misuse.
Merseyside Fire Authority received 1,024 extra calls related to bonfires or fireworks last year, at a cost of 245,760.

This is Local London 15 January 2002 Why do fireworks go on past November 5?
I would like to say a very big thank you to the Savacentre at Colliers Wood and other retail outlets in and around the area for promoting the sale of fireworks prior to Christmas Day, thus encouraging morons with nothing better to do than disrupt the tranquillity of family get-togethers with their fireworks (the louder the better of course) in and around local public places.
These individuals, obviously sadly lacking in the ability to take part in, or find other forms of more intelligent amusement, started their mindless attempt to inflict their dubious enjoyment on those of us attempting to discover the joys of a few peaceful days, on Christmas Eve, continuing throughout Christmas Day (until the early hours), and if that was not enough, Boxing Day too.
I am most certainly not a killjoy. Fireworks the November 5? Fine. New Years Eve? That's fine too. But over the Christmas period? I don't think so. Can someone please explain to me why these days November 5 celebrations tend to start in September and carry on well into the New Year? Am I missing something?
Or is it simply that the morons I mentioned earlier feel they have achieved something in life only if they are out on the streets at all times of the day and night throwing bangers around and making a general nuisance of themselves, not caring what distress they cause to the elderly, the infirm and the many pet owners who spend endless hours trying to calm and comfort terrified animals.
People can cope with several firework events spread over the course of a year. But as it is now, month after month after month, then no.   Surely the time has come for regulation on the sale of fireworks.   W W,  Wimbledon,

CheshireOnline 14 January 2002 Fireworks explosion prompts shutdown of Chinese factories

An explosion at a fireworks factory in southern China has killed six people and prompted the temporary closure of 170 firecracker producers.  The blast in Hunan province coincided with a decision by neighbouring Jiangxi province to shut down its whole fireworks industry after a series of fatal explosions in recent weeks.  The two provinces are the heart of China's fireworks industry, which is a major employer in poor rural areas but suffers frequent deaths.

This is Wiltshire 12 January 2002: MP supports fireworks bill
Julia Drown, MP for South Swindon, has backed fellow MP Barry Gardiner's bill on firework safety. Ms Drown is one of the key supporters of the Ten Minute Rule Bill, which was introduced to Parliament and aims to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by fireworks. She said: "I have received a number of letters from Swindon people who have been disturbed by fireworks set off late at night, or who have been worried about the shock and distress caused to their pets and other animals."  The bill proposes powers for the Government to restrict the times of year that fireworks can be bought and the time of day fireworks can be set off. It would also enable the Government to license all vendors of fireworks to meet strict safety criteria, and to give trading standards the power to revoke the licence if any vendor is caught selling to people underage. And too often misuse of fireworks can cause injury, or even death. As a key supporter of this Bill, I want fireworks to be a safe and enjoyable experience."

icScotland 11 January 2002:   Catfight riot left 48 cops wounded, Belfast Mayhem
A brawl between two mothers sparked Belfast's worst sectarian violence in months.
The riots in Ardoyne left 48 police injured and forced the closure yesterday of troubled Holy Cross primary.  Armed loyalists destroyed 17 cars at a second Catholic school.
Violence flared when a Protestant woman clashed with a Catholic mum on the way to collect her daughter from Holy Cross on Wednesday.  Paramilitaries brought crates of petrol bombs to the scene as up to 500 yobs from both communities rioted. The mayhem went on into yesterday morning.
Police were pelted with up to 140 petrol and acid bombs, as well as flares, fireworks, bricks and bottles.

IcTeesside 11 January 2002 A rocket for firework yobs
Teesside tearaways using fireworks as "instruments of terror" have prompted an MP to support calls for tighter controls. Stockton South MP Dari Taylor has given her backing to a Commons bill which aims to restrict the sale and use of the explosives. She has also called on Home Secretary David Blunkett to give the police more powers to deal with the "delinquents" responsible for terrorising communities in the run up to Bonfire Night. She said: "Home Office involvement seems vital if the bill is to be effective as the police must be given stronger powers to tackle delinquent members of society who torment law-abiding residents by using fireworks as instruments of terror. "While I do not wish to spoil people's enjoyment of fireworks, I firmly believe that action has to be taken to prevent these products being used to generate a climate of fear in our communities." Mrs Taylor said she was particularly alarmed by reports of youngsters targeting the homes of elderly residents in her constituency and pushing lit fireworks through their letterboxes. She fears such behaviour will eventually lead to deaths from heart attacks. The Stockton South MP said every year fireworks are being illegally sold to children in Stockton. She said too often the fireworks were used to intimidate elderly people in their own homes. "I have parts of my constituency where pensioners have been petrified by attacks on their properties," explained Mrs Taylor. The bill aims to restrict the times of the year that fireworks can be bought, sold or used. It also aims to equip the Government with greater powers to license public displays and force traders to stick to tougher rules regarding safety. But South Bank shopkeeper Pearl Hall still wants a complete ban on domestic firework sales. The Gazette told how Mrs Hall, 80, began a campaign after being terrorised in her grocery shop by firework-throwing yobs. Mrs Hall, now the North-east representative for a national anti-fireworks group, said: "I'm not against organised displays but local selling has to stop because they are getting into the hands of idiots." She says she also wants the Explosives Act of 1875 implemented. Section 80 of the Act permits heavy fines or imprisonment for misusing fireworks in the street. Calls for a complete ban on the retail sale of fireworks have also been made by Stockton Home Safety Association. Members believe there should be a change in the law so that fireworks should only be used at organised events.


Manchester Online 11 January 2002  Bargains could cost lives
Christmas shoppers in Greater Manchester have been warned that buying cheap or fake presents may help fund terrorist groups in Ulster.   Loyalist and Republican paramilitary organisations are making millions of pounds a year by smuggling tobacco and selling counterfeit goods from CDs to computer games.   These items are being sold on the British mainland - including the north west.
Shoppers are being asked to remember the devastation caused by the IRA bombs in Warrington and Manchester before buying ''black market'' goods.  Warrington North MP Helen Jones said: ''People think they are getting a bargain on the doorstep when they buy cheap tobacco or alcohol, but they could actually be putting money straight into the coffers of criminals and terrorists.
Customs and Excise officials recently seized 600,000 cigarettes, 6,000 litres of spirits, mostly vodka, tobacco, counterfeit clothing, CDs, fireworks and computer games in County Armagh.  A spokesman said: ''The trade in illegal tobacco and alcohol smuggling is worth millions of pounds and people need to realise that it is mainly hardened criminals behind these activities.''

icBirmingham 10 January 2002  Bid to end misery of all-year fireworks
Tough new restrictions designed to end the misery caused by round-the-year firework displays have been proposed by Midland MPs.
Ross Cranston (Lab Dudley North) and Tom Watson (Lab West Bromwich East) want to see the law changed so fireworks can only be bought at certain times of the year and set off at reasonable times in the evening.
Last night the campaign was backed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
A spokesman said: "We support a change in the law because it would reduce the misery suffered by so many pets."
It was once rare to see or hear fireworks in Britain except on Bonfire Night, November 5.
Then events such as Divali, the Hindu festival of lights where fireworks are lit, also came to be celebrated in this country.
However, there is now concern that some shops are selling fireworks at all times of the year and some people have come to see them as a leisure activity which do not require any special occasion.
The result is that neighbours are disturbed day after day, through the evening and into the early hours, by loud bangs which can frighten children and pets.
Mr Watson and Mr Cranston are backing a private member's Control of Fireworks Bill which would "enable the Government to restrict the times of the year fireworks can be bought and restrict the times of the day fireworks can be set off".
It would also allow the Government to licence people who perform public displays so that only licensed pyro-technicians would be able to perform them. New strict safety criteria on fireworks sales would also be introduced.
Mr Watson said: "Judging by my postbag over the last few months, this issue is of great concern to many residents in Sandwell.  There is an urgent need to update the law to bring in tougher controls and prevent nuisance caused by the reckless misuse of fireworks."
Mr Watson has written to Melanie Johnson MP, the minister responsible for the sale and regulation of fireworks, urging the Government to bring in new regulations.
He said: "This campaign now has the support of an increasing number of MPs and I will continue to lobby the Government on the need for new legislation."  However, he insisted he was not a killjoy. In November he praised Sandwell Council's organised fireworks display as "one of the best I have ever seen", he said.
Jo Cunningham, spokeswoman for the RSPCA's West Midlands branch, said:  "We would firmly support greater regulation. If people knew when fireworks were likely to go off, they could at least get their pets indoors.
Animals can be distressed by the loud bangs and the flashes of light.  "Tightening up the law could also mean fireworks were less likely to get into the wrong hands. There have been some awful incidents caused by fireworks."
The Bill had a first reading in Parliament when it was proposed by Barry Gardiner (Brent North Lab).
He told MPs a voluntary code, by which the fireworks industry restricts sales to a three-week period around November 5, had not worked.  "This is a unique code in the sense that it is distinguished by being more often broken than observed.  My constituents have been subjected to a constant unabated barrage of fireworks from early October of last year through to the new year."


Evening Post January 10 2002, Massive Response to the Post Campaign

The Post's Be Safe Not Sorry campaign was launched on December 7 last year after we were inundated with letters from readers saying they were fed up with the noise, nuisance and distress to pets that fireworks cause.
A week earlier, Councillors John Clarke Graham Jackson, who respectively, chair the Notts police and Fire Authorities called for a public consultation into fireworks.
In response to public outrage, they wanted to see a fireworks ban. 
Two days later, county councillors voted to open a public debate and called on Notts residents to send their comments to Councillors Jackson and Clarke and to the Evening Post. 
To launch our campaign, Tom Munn, 12, and his father from Worcester called for a change in the law.  Tom was temporarily blinded when a firework he and a group of friends were setting off exploded.   
He needed pioneering surgery to save his sight arid had an operation at the Queen's Medical Centre. the nearest hospital which could offer him any hope.
The Post also revealed that many guide dogs had to be sedated because of fireworks set off near them.
Many readers wrote in to complain that cats and other pets were petrified by the constant bangs, which continued up to a month after November 5.  The campaign quickly gained the backing of several Notts MPs, including Nick Palmer (Broxtoe) who vowed to bring the campaign to Parliament.

On Tuesday he sponsored a Bill in the House of Commons which called for restricted sales of fireworks. 
It gained massive support from MP's and will now go through a  second debate before being passed to Consumer Minister Melanie Johnson along with copies of the Post's articles on the issue.
On Monday, the City Council also set in train moves that could see a by-law being enforced in the city boundaries restricting the times when fireworks can be set off, limiting the places where they can be set off, and reducing the period of time when fireworks can be sold leading up to November 5.


Evening Post 10 January 2002 Post Leading the way,

The news that the Prime Minister will consider a ban on fireworks if statistics show an increase in the annual number of injuries has been welcomed in Notts. Everyone involved in pushing for a ban on
selling fireworks to the general public is delighted Mr  Blair has taken up the issue.
GAYLE GRAHAM and Parliamentary Correspondent KRISTINA COOPER report.
Tony Blair's surprise admission that he will consider any necessary changes to the law governing the sale of fireworks has been the first Governmental response to the ongoing firework debate.

Councillors and MPs have been lobbying for a change for some time, but yesterday was the first time that Mr Blair has acknowledged the complaints made against fireworks and the injuries they can cause.
The Department for Trade and Industry is compiling an annual report on firework incidents using data collected from health authorities in England and Wales. It will not be published before the summer.
But it will include information on firework vandalism, noise pollution and the harm fireworks can cause people and animals.
Mr Blair will use this information to determine whether fireworks pose a serious risk.  And he has now promised publicly that a change in the law will be made if necessary.  He said: "The risks associated with fireworks are very clear and once we have the full statistics we will certainly consider if any changes are necessary."
Consumer Affairs Minister Melanie Johnson who previously said she would only look into a change in legislation if public demand sought it, is considering the matter "very seriously", a DTI spokeswoman said.
With Mr Blair's backing, a change in firework laws could be just around the corner - and that has been welcomed locally.  Councillors Graham Jackson and John Clarke, chairman of the fire authority and police authority respectively, were amazed by the Prime Minister's strong statement.

They started debates in Notts when they put forward a motion to the county council calling for a public consultation on whether fireworks should be banned and other possible changes, including the issue of fireworks being set off in the street, their illegal sales to under - 18s and the suitability of certain types and categories of fireworks.
Coun Clarke said, "I am extremely pleased about this announcement - it's absolutely amazing.   It is proof that an issue like fireworks can start at a local base with representatives from councils, local press, MPs and people power, and can end with the Prime Minister promising to bring forward a change if the cause is strong enough.
"It is amazing to see how local people can persuade Government ministers to change the law.  This is a massive boost for everyone in Notts."
Coun Jackson said: "It is excellent news that MPs have put the question of fireworks to the Prime Minister.
"It is a good starting point that if Mr Blair sees a need for a change then he will address it."
The Prime Minister's comments have heartened the many MPs who are campaigning for a change in the law
Last Tuesday the Control of Fireworks Bill, which was instigated by Brent North MP. Barry Gardiner and sponsored by Broxtowe MP Nick Palmer, passed its first legislative hurdle.
The debate in the House of Commons was given overwhelming support by MPs and will have its second hearing in a few months.
Today Mr Palmer said: 'The Prime Minister's comments are certainly encouraging but we will still keep pushing for a ban on fireworks locally
"The issue will continue to be pushed by myself and Mr Gardiner until the Government itself orders a change in the law.
"I am delighted by this news and welcome the fact that the Prime Minister has addressed the issue of fireworks."
The bill will go full steam ahead, gathering momentum along the way despite Mr Blair's comments, until definite news of a change in law is presented.
The MPs would only cease their Bill if Mr Blair opts for a restriction on the sale of fireworks.
Mr Palmer has said once the Bill has passed the second stage, he will take articles - including the
Post's Be Safe Not Sorry campaign - to Ms Johnson.  And Gedling MP Vernon Coaker will tomorrow present a dossier of Post articles to Mr Blair.  Mr Coaker said: "I would like to congratulate the Post for highlighting this important issue and police authority chairman John Clarke for his campaign work.
"I will be alerting Mr Blair to the
Post's campaign and I'm hopeful that he will fulfil his promise to take further action if necessary."  The Prime Minister's comments are also backed by Noel Tobin, the director of the National Campaign for Firework Safety, who is also backing the Post's campaign.
The National Campaign for Firework Safety was launched in 1969 and has been successful in forcing the Government to implement legislation and firework codes over the past 30 years.
Mr Tobin praised the
Post's campaign to make fireworks available only to licensed event organisers. He said Mr Blair's comments were a major step in pushing calls for a ban forward and getting laws changed.
He said: "I was pleased to see the
Post's excellent coverage on fireworks and I am delighted by Mr Blair's comments.  "The National Campaign has been dedicated to seeing proper firework reforms, including a ban on shop sales and the licensing of all fireworks for professional displays only.  "We have pushed for a change in the law but sadly nothing major has ever resulted from this - for too many decades this issue has been completely been ignored by Government.  "It offers hope to everyone who is campaigning for a change in the law."

Evening Post January 10 2002, Yes Prime Minister
Post Battle to end fireworks misery: Blair hints at reform
The Evening Post's fireworks campaign has reached the very top - Prime Minister Tony Blair.
A dossier on our Be Safe Not Sorry campaign is being given to Mr Blair, who has hinted at a change in the law or firework sales.
The Prime Minister surprised MPs yesterday when he said measures might be introduced once the latest figures on firework incidents are known.   It is the first time he has spoken publicly on the issue.   During Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Blair said: "The risks associated with fireworks are very clear.  "Once we have the full statistics and survey of what has happened this year we will certainly consider if any changes are necessary"   He said recent regulations had cut the number of incidents but added the Government would act "if something remains to be done".    He made his pledge as MPs continued to pile pressure on the Government to ban the sale of fireworks to the general public.
Tomorrow, Gedling MP Vernon Coaker will hand over copies of the Post's campaign, which calls for fireworks to be sold only for organised displays, to Mr Blair.  Mr Coaker said: "1 would like to congratulate the Post for highlighting this important issue and pay tribute to police authority chairman John Clarke for his campaign work.  I will be alerting Mr Blair to the Post's campaign and I'm hopeful that he will fulfil his promise to take further action if necessary  "He knows there is real disquiet about this issue in Notts and across the country"  If the Government does change the law, new legislation could be enforced within months.  Coun Clarke and Coun Graham Jackson, Notts fire authority chairman, welcomed Mr Blair's comments.  Coun Clarke said: "It is amazing to see how local people can persuade Government ministers to change the law.
"This is a massive boost for everyone in Notts." Coun Jackson added: "It's a good starting point that if Mr Blair sees a need for a change in the law he will address this."


Evening Post 10 January 2002, Letters,
Fireworks safety issue ignored for too long
I was pleased to see your excellent continued coverage on fireworks last Saturday.
The National Campaign for Firework Safety is the main fireworks safety organisation in Britain and the world, since November 1969, dedicated to seeing proper fireworks reforms, including a ban on shop sales and the licensing of all fireworks for professional displays only.
For too many decades this issue has been completely ignored by Governments of all stripes. When regulations have been brought in they have been minor ones raising the age of purchase only.  Shops selling fireworks do not need a licence to sell them but only a registration from the local
authority.  Is it any wonder that shops can break the law time after time and continue selling firework?
While we want to encourage all MPs and there are many now who are interested in fireworks reforms, for the sake of accuracy could I point out to your readers that a Ten Minute Rule Bill is not a proper Bill, it is a debate on both sides of the argument for ten minutes.
Although we want to encourage all debates, Parliamentary questions and early day motions, only a proper Bill in time allocated by the Government can change the century-old fireworks law (1875).
We met the Consumer Affairs Minister, Melanie Johnson at the DTI before Christmas, when she gave us one hour of her time to put all the arguments, which we did in the sturdiest manner. She promised a further meeting. The MP who accompanied us, Jim Dobbin, told her "if a straw poll were done now of all MPs you would find that the majority supported a ban on retail sales." We added: "only this can stop the injuries, noise and nuisance that millions of people have to suffer in all parts of the country for several months of the year"
Noel Tobin, Director, National Campaign for Firework Safety

Evening Post 10 January 2002, Letters, Not following tradition
C E Raynor appears only to give a cursory glance to other people's letters before making comment on them.
Had she don more than this she would have realised that the main attack of the anti-firework lobby has been on noise, not 'spectators'.
She describes bonfires and the use of fireworks as being a tradition going back hundreds of years, (fireworks spectacular, January 7). I don't think this statement would bear too close an examination if it is to support the pro-firework argument.  Anyway, the scale and loudness of the explosions have left 'tradition' far behind in the last few years.
She says: "They have always enjoyed this freedom provided they don't do any harm."
Which shows how much she has missed the point. The extreme bangers do great harm by bringing distress not only to the elderly and the sick (and
many others) but by terrifying most animals, too, even when they are kept indoors.
The campaign against the use of anti-social fireworks is far from over. I haven't much faith in Nick Palmer's Private Members Bill, even if it gets a reading, so we won't be disappointed whatever the outcome.  Things won't stop there.
R L C, Radcliffe on Trent.

Evening Post 10 January 2002, Letters, Noise is just too much
I would like to add my support to the campaign to ban noisy fireworks and to reduce the length of time during which they can be purchased and set off.  When I was a child Bonfire Night was the one time when fireworks were seen and most people didn't have enough money to buy a lot.  I enjoy the "pretty" ones - golden rain, Catherine Wheels, sparklers and such like, but not the "bangers".  Then came the war and from 1939-4.5 we had enough bangs from bombs and guns to last us a lifetime, so we didn't miss fireworks,
I imagine most older people feel as I do - that there is too much noise in the world today without adding to it.
I hope very much that Mr Palmer can convince the Consumer Affairs Minister that not enough is being done without a change in the law.

Evening Post 10 January 2002, Letters, Why I want a firework ban.
I would just like to say that I am in total favour of a firework ban.
They have been letting fireworks off in this area since the end of September, the other night one was let off at 3am and it's getting past a joke.
It's now January 5, 2002, 10pm and two more have just been set off.
I can only think the people setting them off are selfish inconsiderate morons, so the sooner a total ban is introduced the better. K C, Bramcote


Evening Post Editorial,    January 10 2002  Next... Action on fireworks
A Prime Ministerial pledge to consider a change in firework laws is a strong, positive response to the Evening Post's Be Safe, Not Sorry campaign.
Here's solid, encouraging evidence that our message is getting through.
Tony Blair's promise during Prime Minister's Question Time yesterday acknowledges the extraordinary depth of public feeling over the issue. Mr Blair made it clear that he will weigh up possible reform of existing legislation after a report into fireworks incidents has been carried out shortly. 
We remind him that it cannot come soon enough for Post readers, who have consistently - and vociferously - backed our call to have the sale of fireworks banned, except to organisers of council-licensed public displays. 
The necessity for such a move has been disturbingly illustrated on our letters pages over the past three-and-a-half months. 
Along with their pleas for help, readers have provided upsetting and anguished accounts of the misuse of fireworks, which has frequently gone beyond mere mischievous. 
Noise nuisance is one thing and has naturally proved irritating at one end of the scale and intolerable at the other for a great many people. 
But add the cases of intimidation, when fireworks have been deliberately thrown
at passers-by or pushed through letterboxes, as well as the amount of deliberate damage to property, and the urgent need for the Government to become involved was clear. 
It is highly significant that Mr Blair has become personally involved in the debate - especially just days after his own consumer affairs minister insisted that there would be no review on the matter unless concern was great enough to warrant it. 
Well, it is, and Mr Blair clearly senses the disquiet fireworks are now creating or he would not have used the high-profile stage of PMQs to mention them in the way that he did. 
Broxtowe MP Nick Palmer is a joint-sponsor of a Private Member's Bill in support of our Be Safe, Not Sorry campaign. 
It passed its first legislative hurdle earlier this week, and Mr Blair might profitably use it as template for law reform. 
The Prime Minister's words are fine. Now let's have the action to back them up.

icBirmingham 10 January 2002  Bid to end misery of all-year fireworks

Tough new restrictions designed to end the misery caused by round-the-year firework displays have been proposed by Midland MPs.  Ross Cranston (Lab Dudley North) and Tom Watson (Lab West Bromwich East) want to see the law changed so fireworks can only be bought at certain times of the year and set off at reasonable times in the evening.  Last night the campaign was backed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  A spokesman said: "We support a change in the law because it would reduce the misery suffered by so many pets."  It was once rare to see or hear fireworks in Britain except on Bonfire Night, November 5.
Then events such as Divali, the Hindu festival of lights where fireworks are lit, also came to be celebrated in this country.
However, there is now concern that some shops are selling fireworks at all times of the year and some people have come to see them as a leisure activity which do not require any special occasion.  The result is that neighbours are disturbed day after day, through the evening and into the early hours, by loud bangs which can frighten children and pets.  Mr Watson and Mr Cranston are backing a private member's Control of Fireworks Bill which would "enable the Government to restrict the times of the year fireworks can be bought and restrict the times of the day fireworks can be set off".  It would also allow the Government to licence people who perform public displays so that only licensed pyro-technicians would be able to perform them. New strict safety criteria on fireworks sales would also be introduced.  Mr Watson said: "Judging by my postbag over the last few months, this issue is of great concern to many residents in Sandwell.  There is an urgent need to update the law to bring in tougher controls and prevent nuisance caused by the reckless misuse of fireworks."  Mr Watson has written to Melanie Johnson MP, the minister responsible for the sale and regulation of fireworks, urging the Government to bring in new regulations.
He said: "This campaign now has the support of an increasing number of MPs and I will continue to lobby the Government on the need for new legislation."  However, he insisted he was not a killjoy. In November he praised Sandwell Council's organised fireworks display as "one of the best I have ever seen", he said.  Jo Cunningham, spokeswoman for the RSPCA's West Midlands branch, said: "We would firmly support greater regulation. If people knew when fireworks were likely to go off, they could at least get their pets indoors.  Animals can be distressed by the loud bangs and the flashes of light.  "Tightening up the law could also mean fireworks were less likely to get into the wrong hands. There have been some awful incidents caused by fireworks."
The Bill had a first reading in Parliament when it was proposed by Barry Gardiner (Brent North Lab).
He told MPs a voluntary code, by which the fireworks industry restricts sales to a three-week period around November 5, had not worked.  "This is a unique code in the sense that it is distinguished by being more often broken than observed.  My constituents have been subjected to a constant unabated barrage of fireworks from early October of last year through to the new year."


icNorthWales 10 January 2002  Rioting in Belfast leaves 14 officers hurt

At least 14 police officers have been injured during rioting in North Belfast.
They were attacked when rival nationalist and loyalist crowds clashed.
Police came under attack from both sides, with protesters throwing petrol bombs, fireworks, stones and bottles.

The Scotsman  10 January 2002 - Party's over for fireworks nation

Seven centuries of tradition are set to come to an abrupt end in Jiangxi, the Chinese province known across the country as the home of fireworks, after a string of spectacular accidents claimed scores of lives and made Headlines around the world.  Jiangxi announced yesterday that the estimated 9,000 fireworks factories operating within its territory would be forced to close within two years. Jiangxi has been scarred by tragedy over the past year as a result of explosions in workshops producing fireworks.
In a speech, the Communist governor warned that the activity, which has a local history stretching back to the Ming dynasty, had no place in the province's future.   Meng Jianzhu, a high-flier close to President Jiang Zemin, said: "Jiangxi's economic development cannot be built on dangerous production activities".
Mr Meng assumed his post in the wake of a massive explosion in a school early last year that killed at least 33 people, most of whom were young schoolchildren who had been forced to assemble fireworks in the classroom.
Although the government blamed a deranged bomber acting alone, the future of the fireworks industry was soon put in doubt as a local backlash intensified.   The final straw appears to have been a New Year explosion in a Hong Kong-owned factory that cost the lives of as many as 63 people.  The provincial government also announced yesterday that the head of government and the Communist Party boss of Wanzai county, where both incidents took place, had been sacked as a result of the explosions.  Attempts to cover up the explosions by preventing reporters from travelling to the scene provoked Beijing into a very public confrontation with the local authorities.
The impoverished province, which is landlocked, now faces an uphill battle to find alternative employment for those working in the industry. As few foreign investors have ventured to the area, it will be relying on Beijing's largesse to cushion the blow of losing one of its biggest employers.
China claims to have invented fireworks.

This is Bradford  10 January 2002: Rocket turned car into a `roadster'
Sir, - It was almost funny (but not quite).
On New Year's Eve I went to get something out of the car and was surprised to find that I had become the owner of (possibly) the only Volvo 440 Roadster in the country. The glass sunroof of my old bus had been converted into a ten thousand piece jigsaw and most of the said pieces were scattered over the seats.
I owned a roadster in the early sixties and often feel that I would like another. But I'm afraid that, in spite of the Ferrari-red paint job and fancy rear spoiler, an elderly Volvo with a hole in the roof is hardly a rival to an E-type when it comes to street cred (whatever that is).
Vandalism? That's a debatable point. The culprit was still in the car. In fact, part of it was poking through the hole in the roof. `It' was a large skyrocket.
In view of the terrible events of the year just ended, it would be churlish to moan about damage to a car but there is, of course, a more serious side to all this. The rocket in question was large (41 inches long) and heavy and its actual effects in a fluke accident were a clear indication of its potential to cause injury.
The proliferation of firework parties at all times of the year can only make further accidents more likely. I hope that they are no more serious. T L

This is Cheshire   10 January 2002:  Firework noise is bang out of order for pets
The town echoed to the sound of fireworks again over the new year period as revellers welcomed in 2002 - but again, the festivities have caused heartache for some residents.
As reported in the Guardian in the weeks before and after November 5, fireworks caused problems across Warrington and a campaign has been launched in a bid to restrict their sale.
But the concerns were sparked again after reports of loud blasts going off at all hours of the day and night.
The Holland family, of Thelwall, lost their beloved dog Barney on New Year's Eve when he ran away, scared by a mighty bang.
Owner Doris said: "He is another victim of the current trend of firework mania.
"Think twice before you buy those fireworks. A few moments of pleasure for you may lead to a lifetime of sadness for someone else."
Have you seen Barney? He is a five-year-old, brown labrador/collie cross with a white patch on his chest. Call Guardian reporter Suzanne Elsworth on 434114.

This is Lancashire 10 January 2002: Firework ban bid
MP Andy Burnham has sent a petition from Leigh residents calling for a crackdown on fireworks to Prime Minister Tony Blair.
He is also backing a Bill to restrict the sale and use of fireworks which was presented to the House of Commons on Tuesday.
The move follows complaints received by many MPs after Guy Fawkes night and the New Year celebrations.
Mr Burnham said: "I'm not against people enjoying fireworks on bonfire night, but things have gone too far. They are being let off all the year round and are much louder than they used to be.
"This causes great distress to many, but particularly older people. The time has come for the law to be tightened."

Edinburgh Evening News 9 January 2002   MP sparks off fireworks crackdown
A city MP today led calls for a crackdown on the sale of dangerous fireworks.  Edinburgh West MP John Barrett sponsored a House of Commons bill calling for greater control and better regulation of fireworks.
The bill is designed to halt the growing number of fireworks-related accidents and to reduce the impact of fireworks on pets and wild animals.
The Liberal Democrat MP said: "Although we are not intending to be killjoys, I and other MPs are concerned about the increasing number of accidents involving fireworks. I want to see good, safe, public displays which will ensure the protection of adults and children, as well as pets and wild animals.
"This bill would also restrict the times of the day fireworks can be set off."

Edinburgh Evening News  8 January 2002   Fireworks no fun for our wildlife
Imagine a life where you had to build your home, find and kill your own food, and you had no access to what was happening outside your own life.
Imagine how you would feel if you were out looking for food, or lying peacefully in your bed when suddenly the ground started to shake, your home started to crumble, and your ears were filled with the loud bangs .
In addition to this, the sky is lit up with strange lights and your nostrils smell fire. Imagine how scared you would be... that's what our wild animals who live on the Edinburgh hills had to endure on New Year's Eve.
How long will they take to recover? How long would you take to recover? The politicians are putting a bill through parliament at the moment to attempt to protect our wild mammals.
Well, they certainly were not protecting them when they allowed fireworks to be lit on our green hills.
Edinburgh has become a wonderful place over the Christmas period and I can imagine how appealing it must be to visitors. However, as a council taxpayer and therefore a funder of this project I object to my money being spent on fireworks to traumatise our animals and destroy our historic buildings.
I am no killjoy; I am a mother with a 12-year-old son who feels the same!
S. T. Buckstone Loan East, Edinburgh

icNewcastle 8 January 2002   Milk float should be a general store on wheels

Milkmen yesterday vowed to fight back against the growing dominance of supermarkets which has seen the number of doorstep deliveries fall dramatically in the past 20 years.  Despite figures showing milk sales door-to-door down 63pc since 1980, those left in the industry believe by diversifying they can survive.  A report from the Milk Task Force, set-up to examine the dairy industry, said doorstep deliveries accounted for 89pc of household milk sales in England and Wales 20 years ago, but fell to just 26pc in 2000.
Edmund Proffitt, from the National Dairymen's Association, said the future was far from bleak for milkmen.  "I know of examples where milkmen are now offering nappies, newspapers, even fireworks from their float. It is like a general store on wheels."

This is Mid Sussex  7 January 2002: Firework plea
Every weekend since the summer has been marked by increasingly noisy fireworks.
Their use escalated to almost daily during the Christmas holidays. When they were limited to the period around November 5, animals could be kept inside in anticipation. Now they are subject to a daily terror.
The time has surely come for Brighton and Hove City Council to seek powers to restrict the sale and use of fireworks to a reasonable period of a couple of weeks a year. P R, Hove

Eastern Daily Press, 5 January 2002, Now EVERY celebration goes with a bang
I thought I'd kick off the New Year with an Old Moan - it's one of those intensely irritating gripes which are given a dusting down from time to time, aired briefly, and then consigned to the back of my mind for a further period of unhealthy festering.
First, a question: what is the connection between Guy Fawkes and the baby Jesus? Religion maybe? Autumn/winter events on our calendar perhaps? The answer is: fireworks.
Everyone knows (though I have yet to understand exactly why) that we "celebrate" Guy Fawkes Night every November 5 with bonfires, fireworks and prolonged stays at the regional hospital's burns unit.
But now people have begun to celebrate the birth of Jesus with fireworks too. In fact fireworks have become almost a weekly, and sometimes nightly, event throughout the year.
Where once the snap, crackle and pop of pyrotechnics had to be endured from mid-October till mid-November as schoolboys built up Saddam-style stockpiles and prolonged the agony each night, they are now let off to mark almost any occasion.
At this point, allow me to make a few confessions. Yes, I used to buy fireworks illegally as a teenager and keep them in a shoebox hidden under my bed. Yes, I used to manufacture my own fireworks in the garden shed - don't try that at home! - and, yes, I even used to titter with pals as we hurled bangers down old ladies' back passages (so to speak).
But I've matured a little since then and can now see the pure hell that fireworks cause to pets as well as the upset and stress experienced by many people, particularly the elderly.
One of our two miniature schnauzers, Klara, has spent years being scared silly every autumn by the build-up to Bonfire Night and the week or two afterwards. She hides under tables and beds, scratches up the carpets in a frenzy, and trembles inconsolably behind the television cabinet.
It has always been a worrying spell, but at least we've known that it would eventually end. Now, firework displays are staged so often that Klara's torture never seems to cease - Guy Fawkes, Christmas, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, pop and classical concerts, birthdays, parties, anniversaries.
Some people have to hide their frightened pets at the back of cupboards night after night; others even have to administer sedatives when the booming, whizzing and shrieking get too much.
Maybe that's what I need - for me as well as Klara. In December 1999, when Gregory was almost a year old, I recall cuddling him in the rocking chair in his bedroom just a few minutes before midnight on Christmas Eve.
As we gently rocked, I spoke to him in my most soothing tones about what a special night it was for the world; about Mary and Joseph and the animals gathered in a lowly stable. Then, just as I got to the important bit about the birth of Jesus, the Saviour of Mankind, I was rudely interrupted by a flaming Roman...a flaming Roman candle, that is, shooting volleys of colourful explosives into the air.
Some inconsiderate fool with a box of fireworks had decided to commemorate the Nativity at BANG on midnight in his own peculiar way. And there was silly me thinking that Christmas Eve was a "Silent Night" of peace, goodwill and calm reflection.
These last two weeks have seen more of the same. Even on the traditionally quiet weekend before New Year's Eve there were fireworks galore going off - goodness only knows why - and around teatime on New Year's Day, when people had surely finished their celebrations, another display was being held near our home in central Norwich.
The curious thing about all this is that I have yet to meet anyone who has either held or attended any of these non-Guy Fawkes firework events.
So who, exactly, is lighting the blue touch-paper and igniting my wrath on such a regular basis? And do they realise the misery they are causing to pets and their owners for the sake of some selfish celebrations?
The broader question, of course, is what can be done? I understand that a Private Member's Bill in 1997, aimed at tightening up rules on fireworks and their availability, almost made in on to the Statute Book but was sabotaged by a "filibuster" in its passage through Parliament. The law, therefore, can apparently do little.
There is, however, a National Campaign for Firework Safety, which has been battling away since 1969, and would doubtless welcome more support.   In the meantime, maybe "self-regulation" is the answer - in other words, can anyone reading this column please, PLEASE, stop letting off all those blasted fireworks? If nothing else, think of my poor old Klara shivering behind the settee.

This is Worcestershire 4 January 2002: Firework boy's long ordeal
A Worcester family faces an agonising eight-week wait to see if their son will lose his eye after an horrific firework accident.  Tom Munn underwent a ground-breaking operation in Nottingham last month in a desperate bid to save his sight.  But it will be at least another two months before doctors know if he will make a full recovery, his dad Graham has revealed.  "They succeeded with the actual operation," he said, "and did all they'd planned to do.  "But they found that the actual eye had softened. It's come down to whether the damage is permanent or not.  "If it's just traumatised, and the pressure stabilises or goes back up, then he may keep the eye.  "But, if it drops, then we're on to a loser and there's nothing they can do about it."
The 12-year-old was seriously hurt after a firework exploded near his face while he was with his 20-year-old brother and a friend, who were also injured. The accident happened on the cricket pitch off Evendine Close in Battenhall on Monday, October 22.  They had been following instructions while lighting fireworks, but one did not ignite. When the three went back to fix it, the firework exploded in their faces.  Worcester firefighters said it was the worst fireworks accident they had seen in years and warned the public about mishandling explosives.  Tom still has weekly check-ups at Birmingham Eye Hospital and is due to visit doctors at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre every fortnight to monitor the pressure inside his eye.  The operation, the first of its kind in Britain, was performed by Prof Harminder Dua at the Nottingham hospital in November.  If his eye is saved, the next step for Tom would be to stretch the skin on the eyelid to prevent his lashes turning inwards.  But Mr Munn said Tom refused to be depressed about his ordeal.  "He's still very buoyant," he said. "And he has perfect sight in his other eye."

Surrey on-line 3 January 2002  Young wreckers plaguing village

Frustrated parish councillors have been forced to spend more than 3,000 to repair damage caused by young vandals in Smallfield.  A campaign of vandalism and criminal damage at sites throughout Smallfield has left the community angry and out of pocket.
Phil Keenan, who runs the post office, said they have had a lot of problems.  They have had smashed windows and on Hallowe'en they had a firework pushed through the door.


This is Stratford 3 January 2002: Call for a general ban on fireworks
What is it with these pyrotechnic maniacs that possess them to continually blast off fireworks, day after day?
For a fortnight in the run-up to Bonfire night, and for the next three weeks, we had fireworks, literally, for breakfast, dinner and supper. Some of the fireworks were so large and loud, questioning whether or not it was really lawful for the general public to obtain them. I understood that the large type of firework, such as the `bombard' type, required a licence to purchase and a certificated pyrotechnic expert to set them off. How is it that these monsters are readily available to anyone? And do the people letting them off know what they are doing?
But bonfire night is not enough for some people, who seem to think fireworks are for any event, any time of the year. For my part, I am totally sick of hearing them night after night, for most of the yobbo pyrotechnicians seem to think that ten o'clock in the evening, or later is the appropriate time. Last night, (28th Dec), they started at 10.15pm and went on until 10.50pm. They have absolutely no concern for the babies and young children who have just gone to sleep, and for the older folk who go to bed early. And they have no respect for Xmas Day, either, for there were quite a few let off on that day, shattering the peace of the festival, including one stupidly let off at midnight. Have they been reported for prosecution for contravening the noise pollution laws? I doubt it.
What gives these people the right to selfishly ignore the feelings of other people? It is about time that the Council refused licences to shopkeepers to sell these fireworks, because restricting the sale to a few days does not work. In fact the Council could ban all independent private Firework parties, in favour of a one-off display, for which a pound extra on the rates would suffice, thereby ensuring a good display. I am not against that. It would only require a new byelaw to put an end to this nuisance. Charity events such as the Rugby Club could be allowed a permit or licence for their special event.
I think that not only local authorities, but also the Government itself should place a ban on the sale of fireworks to the general public. They are dangerous and cause many accidents each year. Why are we, as a nation, so stupid as to provide the materials for bombs, whilst expressing a determination to stamp out terrorism? After all, we don't really need them, do we? I have written to my MP, Mr Maples enclosing a copy of this letter, in the hope that something can be done by the Government.   Name and address supplied.

This is Essex    3 January 2002: Colchester: Pets traumatised by 2002 fireworks
Colchester Rugby Club has come under fire for its New Year festivities which left horses traumatised and caused a dog to disappear in panic.  The club's Mill Road base was hired out to one of its members for an end-of-year party, which included a fireworks display.   The club has been criticised for not letting enough people living nearby know about the festivities, which wreaked havoc among animals living in the area.  But the club claims it did what it could to let people living nearby know about the event by posting flyers to residents.   Peter and Frances Mecklenburgh, of Severalls Lane, said the fireworks display caused a great amount of distress to their animals.  Mr Mecklenburgh, chairman of Myland Parish Council, said the fireworks were exploding almost directly above his horses.   He said they were terrified and broke a number of fences in distress. 
His eight-month-old jack russell, Daisy, ran off in fright and has not been seen since.  He criticised the club for not letting residents living nearby know about the event before.  He said: "I've heard similar complaints from about 25 other residents while trying to find Daisy.  "We are not against celebrations or firework displays but people need to know about them first." Mr Mecklenburgh said he and his wife, Frances, were still waiting to see what mental damage might have been caused to his horses and was desperately hoping to find the family's dog.
Bill Anslow, club secretary, said: "It was not directly a rugby club event. This was the sixth year these people have booked the place for a function.
"We did put flyers around and through people's letterboxes, though I don't think we delivered as far as Severalls Lane. It would be very difficult to distribute to everybody within a half-mile radius of the club."
Anyone who has information about Daisy or has spotted her can contact Mr Mecklenburgh on 01206 853649

This is Worcester 3 January 2002 Call for a general ban on fireworks
What is it with these pyrotechnic maniacs that possess them to continually blast off fireworks, day after day?
For a fortnight in the run-up to Bonfire night, and for the next three weeks, we had fireworks, literally, for breakfast, dinner and supper. Some of the fireworks were so large and loud, questioning whether or not it was really lawful for the general public to obtain them. I understood that the large type of firework, such as the `bombard' type, required a licence to purchase and a certificated pyrotechnic expert to set them off. How is it that these monsters are readily available to anyone? And do the people letting them off know what they are doing?
But bonfire night is not enough for some people, who seem to think fireworks are for any event, any time of the year. For my part, I am totally sick of hearing them night after night, for most of the yobbo pyrotechnicians seem to think that ten o'clock in the evening, or later is the appropriate time. Last night, (28th Dec), they started at 10.15pm and went on until 10.50pm. They have absolutely no concern for the babies and young children who have just gone to sleep, and for the older folk who go to bed early. And they have no respect for Xmas Day, either, for there were quite a few let off on that day, shattering the peace of the festival, including one stupidly let off at midnight. Have they been reported for prosecution for contravening the noise pollution laws? I doubt it.
What gives these people the right to selfishly ignore the feelings of other people? It is about time that the Council refused licences to shopkeepers to sell these fireworks, because restricting the sale to a few days does not work. In fact the Council could ban all independent private Firework parties, in favour of a one-off display, for which a pound extra on the rates would suffice, thereby ensuring a good display. I am not against that. It would only require a new byelaw to put an end to this nuisance. Charity events such as the Rugby Club could be allowed a permit or licence for their special event.
I think that not only local authorities, but also the Government itself should place a ban on the sale of fireworks to the general public. They are dangerous and cause many accidents each year. Why are we, as a nation, so stupid as to provide the materials for bombs, whilst expressing a determination to stamp out terrorism? After all, we don't really need them, do we? I have written to my MP, Mr Maples enclosing a copy of this letter, in the hope that something can be done by the Government.   Name and address supplied.

This is Essex  2 January 2002: Canvey: New Year blaze at island tip
Arsonists or a stray firework were today being blamed for a blaze at Canvey tip in the early hours of New Year's Day.
Firefighters from Canvey were called out to the recycling centre in Tip Road at 12.45am.
They had to go through every piece of rubbish in the tip to make sure there was no piece of waste still smouldering.
Sub officer Lee Vine said: "We were there for a good two hours with two appliances. We had to pull out all the rubbish to make sure the fire was completely out. We believe it was caused by either someone setting alight to some cardboard in the recycling container or a stray firework."

This is Local London 2 January 2002 Fireworks are keeping us up all night long
Yet again it's 10pm and fireworks are still being let off! We've weeks, if not months of these nightly explosions. Children trying to get to sleep are fighting a losing battle as every few minutes tonight another firework is let off.  Celebrating Diwali was one excuse no doubt, Christmas and New Year now!  Fine, but not after 9pm. My 11-year-old often complains at not being able to sleep, because of the explosions.  Most secondary school children are up between 6.30am and 7.30am as they have to travel to school. This really isn't fair.   What is wrong with people who are too thick to work out it's a week night and children and old people don't need loud banging noises after 9pm.  I like fireworks myself and watch the display at Central Park (7.30pm to 8pm). They should be let off at a decent hour in an organised setting or on weekends.  S W,  Dartford

This is Local London 2 January 2002 Firm's new office damaged by fire
Fire severely damaged the office of Parker Group (Independent Financial Advisers) only two days after the firm moved into its new office in Stafford Road, Wallington.  A 50,000 renovation had just been completed when a stray firework set light to some rubbish. The fire spread to a car and then to Parker Group's new office.

CheshireOnline 1 January 2002 Man dies in fireworks explosion during New Year's celebrations

A man has died in Antwerp after a box of fireworks accidentally exploded in his face during New Year's celebrations.  Officials say the 41-year-old from Holland was critically injured during the traditional lighting of fireworks at midnight.  He was in Belgium for a family party. 

This is Lancashire: 1 January 2002:   Firework starts blaze
A faulty indoor firework sparked a fire in a night-club's ducting on Bridge Street, Bolton, on Monday.
Firefighters were called to the Ikon club on Bridge Street at 2.40pm. No one was injured and damage was slight.

January 2002 The Scottish Firework Safety Group
The aim of the group is to ensure that, as far as possible, the celebrations that take place around 5th November do so safely.  Last year, there were 1056 accidents recorded in the UK, 80 occurred in Scotland of which 43 happened to children.
The group has representatives from Community Services, Economic Development, Fife Constabulary, Fife Fire and Rescue, Trading Standards and a professional display organiser.
It takes a co-ordinated approach to public displays, publicity and education and storage and sales of fireworks.
Public displays - Bonfires and displays on Council owned land have to be registered with Community Services. Organisers were offered training on providing a safe event and sessions took place in the police stations in Dunfermline, Cupar and Glenrothes. Organisers using private land were also encouraged to register and invited to the training.
Publicity and education - Leaflets and posters highlighting the dangers of fireworks were distributed to libraries, council offices and doctors' surgeries. Packs for teachers were also provided and a poster competition was organised for primary school children. There were press releases, poster displays in shopping centres were arranged and the Police targeted known problem areas to discourage unofficial bonfires.
Storage and sales of fireworks - The Trading Standards Service visited all shops selling fireworks to check that they were registered with the Council and that the fireworks were stored safely. Selected fireworks were tested to ensure that they complied with legal requirements. The Police and Trading Standards continued to monitor complaints about underage sales and misuse of fireworks.
For further information contact Geoff Bates on 01592 416522. E-mail: geoff.bates@fife.gov.uk  or visit our web site at: http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/fife/licences.htm#explosives 


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