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 2, February and March
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Nottingham Evening Post 30 March 2002 Firework Ban Call hits Parliament
A 130,000-Signature petition backing a call for a firework sales ban will be presented to MPs.
It is being handed over to MPs by campaigners Coffaw (Control of Fireworks for Animal Welfare).
It includes almost 12,000 signatures from Notts' residents.
Many people signed as a result of the Evening Post's "Be Safe Not Sorry" campaign, which also calls for a firework ban, apart from organised displays. Hazel Wilson is the Notts organiser of the petition and she will present it to Broxtowe's Nick Palmer and Brent North's Barry Gardiner on Wednesday, April 10. The two MPs have already gained the support of many colleagues in a Commons debate earlier this year. Campaigners hope the petition will help the push for a change in the law.
Mrs Wilson, 71, of Sherwood Rise, Rainworth, has been collecting names since November when her seven-year-old cat Pip died from trauma after a firework was set off near him.
She said: "The petition goes to show there's a tremendous amount of public feeling saying enough is enough and there must be a change in the law. "I have been campaigning on a daily basis since Pip died. "His death prompted me to take action.
"You can keep your animals in on Bonfire Night but you cannot protect them for a whole month before and afterwards, just in case a firework goes off. "By handing in the petition we hope to force a change in the law by stopping the sale of fireworks to the general public, and only making them available to licensed event organisers. We also want to see displays made safer and the loudest explosives banned. "My other cats have been left traumatised by the firework situation and they are left spooked by Pip's death. "Something needs to be done."
Dr Palmer, who supports the Be Safe Not Sorry campaign has said he will attend the presentation and is looking forward to a response from the Department for Trade and Industry. He said: "The petition is brilliant. "It keeps up the pressure and shows that it's a really widespread issue. "I'm looking forward to being at the presentation as it's another important step forward in calling for a ban on the sale of fireworks." The petition has collected signatures from around Britain and it is hoped that a peaceful demonstration from supporters of the campaign will take place while the petition is handed over.
The "Be Safe Not Sorry campaign"
The "Be Safe Not Sorry" campaign was launched after the Post was inundated with letters from readers saying they were fed up with the noise, nuisance and the distress that fireworks cause.
Notts county councillors John Clarke and Graham Jackson, who chair the Notts police and fire authorities, held consultations to gauge public opinions.
Tom Munn and his father, Graham, from Worcester, launched our campaign after the 12-year-old was temporarily blinded when a firework exploded in his face.
The campaign quickly gained the backing of several Notts MPs, including Broxtowe's Nick Palmer, who vowed to bring it to Parliament.
City councillors have also discussed a by-law for Nottingham restricting the times when fireworks can be set off as well as the location of firework displays and the period of time in which they can be bought.
Erewash is also holding discussions with Derbyshire County Council to see what it can do to increase the fines given out to those who break firework regulations - as well as refusing licences to retailers who sell to under-age youngsters.
The Government has also revealed that it will look to review current firework legislation and Prime Minister Tony Blair has been handed a dossier of the Post's campaign.
Mr Blair said: "I understand the depth of current concerns about fireworks, particularly in relation to neighbourhood safety, noise and nuisance.
Nottingham Evening Post 30 March 2002 Firework Fight: 130,000 Allies
The campaign group Coffaw represents just one element of the crusade for restrictions on the sale of fireworks. COFFAW's stance is inspired by the need to protect pets during the firework "season" - which nowadays seems to last from early October until the end of November.
Our own "Be Safe Not Sorry" campaign embraces all the many powerful arguments against the general availability of fireworks to buyers aged 18 and over. are concerned mainly about the threat to human life and limb, but we take on board others' fears about the welfare of animals, as well as public reaction to the needless and prolonged environmental nuisance caused by fireworks and mischievous or thoughtless users. COFFAW's petition has been signed by 130,000 people - 12,000 of them from Notts. So here are another 130,000 allies in the drive to have the sale of fireworks restricted to the organisers of licensed public displays. Added to our own efforts, and those of like-minded campaigners in the emergency services and the House of Commons, COFFAW's petition could yet help to persuade the Government to abandon its head-in-the-sand attitude to the problem. It the Government acts responsibly and introduces the restrictions the public wants, it can massively reduce firework damage to humans, animals and property. If it does nothing, expect more tears every autumn.
IcCoventry 30 March 2002 I've been though hell
A Coventry shopkeeper says an 18-year campaign of racial abuse and attacks won't force her into closing her Foleshill corner store. Gurdeep Kaur vowed: "I've been through hell, but I never want to give in. My shop door will always be open." At the Magghoanni General Store in Freeman Street, she and her family have been attacked and robbed on several occasions. Over the years, youths have hurled fireworks, bricks and voodoo dolls through her windows and daubed the property with racial graffiti.
IcBirmingham 26 March 2002 Men sent down for firework attack
Two men who took part in a firework attack on a Muslim-owned restaurant in West Bromwich weeks after September 11 have been jailed for three months. Recorder Rex Tedd QC told the men they carried out the attack on the Shalimar restaurant "at a time when there was genuine public fear of violence and terrorism". Terrified staff and customers at the High Street restaurant threw themselves to the floor when the giant roman candle exploded after being thrown into the premises. The firework was the kind used at public displays. It exploded seven times. "It is hardly surprising that a waiter had it in mind that the restaurant might have been singled out because it was owned and run by Muslims," added the Recorder. He said at Wolverhampton Crown Court: "It is plain these people were put in great fear. Some of them thought it was a pipe bomb or stick of dynamite." Akmal Alam (21), of High Street, West Bromwich, and Mamon Uddin (18), of Kingsley Street, Walsall, both admitted common assault. Alam was sent to prison and Uddin to a young offenders' institution, both for three months. Patrick Darby, prosecuting, told the court Alam bought the firework and supplied it to Uddin who used to work at the restaurant but was dismissed because of his "bad attitude". The court was told Alam and Uddin were both of previous good character
Newcastle Evening Chronicle 26 March 2002 Scourge of arson
Fire chiefs are targeting trouble spots where yobs are on a blaze rampage. The Authority has also backed a move by residents who have presented Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell with a 2,893 name petition calling for a ban on bangers and for fireworks only to be sold in the two weeks before November 5th.
IcBirmingham 22 March 2002 Fixed fines to target yobs
Thugs and hooligans plaguing the streets of the West Midlands are to be issued with fixed penalty fines as part of a new crackdown by police. West Midlands Police will be the only force in Britain to pilot a project across its entire area when it implements it later this year. Under the controversial idea, first raised by the Prime Minister, officers will issue tickets for £80 or £40 for a range of offences. These include drunkenness, wasting police time, obstructing a highway, throwing fireworks and buying alcohol for under-18s.
IcBirmingham 22 March 2002 Church knife horror
Church goers are being terrorised by gangs of thugs who threatened one of the wardens with a knife. Members of the congregation of Our Lady and St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Selly Oak, Birmingham, were forced to lock themselves in after one attack, a parishioner claimed. On another occasion a firework was hurled into a church meeting room which burned one of the carpets.
This is Somerset 20 March 2002, 121,000 BACK JO'S FIREWORKS PROTEST
Firework sales are under the spotlight in Westminster this week following the efforts of a Milverton campaigner whose work has gained national status and the support of dozens of MPs.
Jo Steer, founder of Control of Fireworks for Animal Welfare, has spent the past 18 months gathering more than 121,000 signatures calling for tighter controls on the sale and use of fireworks. Last Friday she met with one politician on the day his Bill was due its second reading.
Brent North MP Barry Gardiner has tabled the RSPCA-backed Bill to restrict the sale and use of fireworks. It calls for regulations to restrict the use of fireworks to specific times of the year and hours of the day, and aims to ensure trained organisers control public firework displays.
Jo told the WWN this week she was delighted with the response so far:
"There are plenty of MPs backing the campaign. Some who didn't support us before seem to have had a change of heart, " she said.
"It is disappointing that the Conservatives have blocked previous Bills and we need to get them onside now."
Traumatised Along with Mr Gardiner, Joan Ryan and David Crosby are two of a handful of politicians who have tabled motions to change the rules on fireworks.
Mr Gardiner is working with several other politicians to establish crossparty support.
Next month Jo will take the petition to Westminster and present it to Mr Gardiner as the culmination of the campaign which began because fireworks were traumatising her horse.
Since then the campaign has widened, taking in all forms of firework misuse.
"I have had letters from all over the country - people with animals, the elderly and parents of mentally handicapped children who have been badly affected, " said Jo.
"I would like to see a legal requirement to get a licence and notify residents if fireworks are to be used other than on November 5.
"At the moment it is illegal to discharge fireworks in the street with a fine of £5,000 and it is an offence to cause distress to a captive animal, with a similar fine and up to six months in prison. But the whole process is extremely difficult to enforce, " she said.
Jo hopes fire, police and ambulance chiefs will join councillors and campaigners from across the country at the petition presentation on April 10.
Nottingham Evening Post, 19 March 2002, Fireworks fight taken to Downing Street
The Prime Minister has welcomed a campaign by the Nottingham Evening Post to end the misuse of fireworks.
Tony Blair was given a full dossier of the Post's Be Safe Not Sorry campaign by Broxtowe MP Nick Palmer during a meeting to discuss ways to stop the unregulated sale of fireworks.
The campaign calls for the sale of fireworks to be limited to licensed display organisers.
After meeting with Mr Blair, Dr Palmer said: "I feel optimistic we are going to make progress on this issue. The fact that the Prime Minister has taken a personal interest is important in pushing it up the political agenda.
"I was able to present him with a full dossier detailing the Post's campaign which he warmly welcomed.
"The Prime Minister made clear that up until recently this was an issue which had been one of safety and that he now appreciates it is also one of quality of life in communities.
"Although I am pleased to have had the meeting it is important that I, and the Post, keep pushing until we get the changes we are calling for."
The Post's campaign was launched after the paper was inundated with letters from readers saying they were fed up with the noise, nuisance and the distress to pets that fireworks cause.
Cambridge News 18 March 2002 Firework safety
Shop owners in Suffolk are being advised to register with trading standards if they want to help the Queen's Golden Jubilee go with a bang. All shops wanting to sell fireworks must be registered and it is anticipated extra shops might want to do so for the Jubilee celebrations. When they register, shop owners will also be offered advice on safe storage of fireworks, especially those who have not sold them before. For more information ring (01473) 584368.
IcScotland 17 March 2002 Fireworks Ban to end misery
Fireworks could be banned in part of Scotland after a landmark ruling. West Dunbartonshire Council voted to ban the sale of all fireworks to the public after complaints about youths setting them off for weeks before and after Guy Fawkes night. SNP councillor Ronnie McColl said: "Fireworks are becoming the bane of many people's lives, especially the elderly. " The council's move has been welcomed by the fire service in the area.
IcTeesside 16 March 2002 MP backs bill to limit sale of fireworks
Concerns for pensioners terrorised by thugs led to Stockton South MP Dari Taylor supporting a Bill limiting the sale of fireworks. Mrs Taylor was inundated with letters from people whose lives have been "blighted" by the explosives.
She said elderly residents have been "particularly affected" by this problem, with thugs regularly pushing lit bangers through letterboxes. She said she had heard reports of dogs and cats being injured, in some cases killed, after having fireworks tied to their bodies. Mrs Taylor said the bill would "add only a small control on the sale and use of fireworks, but however small" she would be in the House to support it when it was read yesterday. "I believe it is crucial for the many in our community that action is taken to prevent sales to juniors, to restrict the period during which fireworks are on sale, to prevent the abuse of these often dangerous explosives, frankly to give people the peaceful privacy in their streets, homes and gardens that they deserve," she said.
Nottingham Evening Post 16 March 2002 MP's Fireworks Bill Fizzles on the Floor
A Bill calling for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public has been halted in Parliament. Broxtowe MP Nick Palmer had co-sponsored the Control of Fireworks Bill - which joined the Evening Post in calling for restrictions on firework sales. It was due to have its second debating session yesterday in the House of Commons. But it was delayed to allow other backbench bills to be discussed. It is not known when - or if - Dr Palmer's bill will have its second debate. It will have to rejoin the list of backbench Bills to be debated, but it is unlikely there will be enough parliamentary time for it to go through all the stages necessary for it to become law.
The delay, however, has not put off Dr Palmer, who vowed to continue his ban fight, saying: "I'm not dispirited. This was always going to be a tactical move to draw ministers' attention to the issue. "Obviously, we must continue to work towards our goal of a permanent change in the law on this matter." Dr Palmer sponsored the bill, which was introduced in January, following the Post's "Be Safe Not Sorry" campaign, calling for a change in the law to stop the misuse of fireworks.
But, when it came to have its second hearing yesterday, MPs spent so long talking about another bill, aimed at protecting marine wildlife, that the bill did not get debated. However, a separate bill calling for a ban on fireworks has also recently been discussed in Parliament. This was brought before the house by Labour MP Judy Ryan, in an unusual double-up on debating issues, and Dr Palmer was also one of 11 sponsors of this bill.
He said: "I welcome the introduction of Ms Ryan's bill. "The more the issue is raised, the greater the likelihood of action being taken. "It shows how much interest there is in this matter across the country."
Last week, Consumer Affairs Minister Melanie Johnson announced she would consider changing the laws to address the growing problem of firework misuse, but stopped short of agreeing with a total ban on sales to the public. And earlier this week Prime Minister Tony Blair met a delegation of MPs, including Dr Palmer, to discuss the matter further and told them he accepted the issue had become one of quality of life, not just one of health and safety.
Mr Blair thanked Dr Palmer for "passing on the views of constituents and the Nottingham Evening Post concerning fireworks".
Nottingham Evening Post 15 March 2002 Firework Campaign Reaches Number 10
Prime Minister Tony Blair has welcomed the Post's campaign to end the misuse of fireworks.
Mr Blair met Broxtowe MP Nick Palmer and a small group of his Labour colleagues this week to discuss ways to stop the unregulated sale of fireworks to the public. The Prime Minister was given a full dossier of the Post's Be Safe Not Sorry campaign which calls for limiting the sale of fireworks to licensed display organisers only.
And, in a further development, Mr Blair contacted Vernon Coaker in response to the Gedling MP's attempts to highlight the Post's campaign. Mr Blair thanked him for passing on "the views of constituents and the Nottingham Evening Post, concerning fireworks". He said: "I understand the depth of current concerns about fireworks, particularly in relation to neighbourhood safety, noise and nuisance. "We are now actively considering across Government what action can be taken within existing legislation to address these growing problems. "Please pass on my assurance that we are taking these concerns very seriously."
This week's meeting with Dr Palmer and six other MPs comes after two backbench attempts - one co-sponsored by Dr Palmer - to introduce legislation banning the sale of fireworks to the public and limiting it to organisers of licensed events. After the meeting Dr Palmer said: "I feel optimistic we are going to make progress on this issue. The fact that the Prime Minister has taken a personal interest is important in pushing it up the political agenda." "I was able to present him with a full dossier detailing the Post's campaign which he warmly welcomed. "The Prime Minister made clear that up until recently this was an issue which had been one of safety and that he now appreciates it is also one of quality of life in communities."
The Government has indicated that it is prepared to look again at the issue, but seems likely to stop short of an outright sales ban to the public.
Last week Consumer Affairs Minister Melanie Johnson said she would consider a change in law to tackle cutting noise and nuisance from fireworks.
Dr Palmer added: "Although I am pleased to have had the meeting it is important that I and the Post keep pushing until we get the changes we are calling for."
Greenock Telegraph Online 13 March 2002, Anger as firework complaints rocket
POLICE received more than 1,000 complaints about fireworks around bonfire night last year, it has been revealed.
Councillors are now backing moves to end the sale of fireworks to the public and to introduce licensing for displays. Margaret Morrison, convener of community and protective services, said: "We are supporting these efforts. "All councils in Scotland are worried by the extent of over-the-counter sales of fireworks and the power and noise of those being sold. "We support the continuation of organised displays and the licensing of those displays. "But there is a real fear about the sale of these and the damage they can do."
Angus Council proposed the changes and is asking other local authorities to support them.
Neil Graham, head of community and protective services, told councillors that shops can apply for registration to sell fireworks and pay £12 a year. There are no provisions for refusing an application. He said: "The voluntary code of practice which restricted the sale of fireworks to the public for a few weeks around 5 November is neither enforceable nor followed. "Since the celebrations surrounding the Millennium the general public are seeking to use fireworks to celebrate a number of events. "The increasing use of display fireworks among the general public is leading to significant levels of complaints, particularly about noise and disturbance to domestic animals and livestock. "There is also the well-known problem of individuals discharging fireworks maliciously in public places."
Greenock Telegraph Online, 12 March 2002, MP joins battle to ban fireworks
ANOTHER local politician has launched a bid to stop Inverclyde people and pets being harassed by fireworks.
Labour's David Cairns is calling for government reforms to stop yobs setting off fireworks recklessly all year.
Inverclyde's other MP, Jim Sheridan, is also calling for controls.
The campaign is also being pursued by animal rights activist Allison Black of Petsearch who said urgent action is needed to stop animals being injured or even scared to death by fireworks.
Allison has already collected 4,500 names on a petition calling for firework legislation, and Mr Cairns is collecting more signatures on another petition in libraries and other public places.
Mr Cairns, Greenock and Inverclyde's MP, said: "Fireworks used to be a fun event. Now they are let off recklessly at any time of the day or night throughout the year, causing enormous distress to people and their pets.
"I strongly believe the government needs to support firework proposals and provide time for legislation to be brought forward from the backbenches."
He wants the government to:
force all public firework displays to be controlled by licensed firework technicians;
restrict the times of year when fireworks can be bought;
restrict the times of day fireworks can be set off;
license all sellers of fireworks to meet strict safety criteria and give trading standards officers the power to revoke the licence of any vendor caught selling to under-age children.
Mr Cairns is also backing another attempt to control fireworks - a 10-minute rule bill introduced in the House of Commons by North London Labour MP Barry Gardiner. It had its first reading in the Commons in January, and will have its second on 15 March.
Allison said she hopes to attend the second reading.
Health and Safety Executive 11 March 2002 NEW LOOK FOR VICTORIAN LAW ON MANUFACTURE AND STORAGE OF EXPLOSIVES
One of the oldest laws governing the safe manufacture and storage of explosives - dating back to Victorian days - is about to be brought up to date.
The Explosives Act goes back to 1875. But now a Consultative Document setting out proposals for new regulations on the manufacture and storage of explosives is published today by the Health and Safety Commission (HSC). The proposals, for new regulations and supporting Approved Code of Practice and Guidance, come after a major review of current explosives legislation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It also included a review of the requirements for separation distances for homes near explosives stores.
Kate Timms, HSE's Deputy Director General (Policy), said: "The Explosives Act has lasted well, but has become complex with much overwriting over the years. These proposals simplify the law, making it easier to understand for both duty-holders and regulators. They also take the opportunity to update the requirements to take account of changes in the industry and in technology."
During the review, the HSE carried out extensive informal consultation with the explosives industry, regulators and a wide range of other stakeholders with an interest in explosives manufacture and storage. HSE is responsible for legislation on the safety of the manufacture, storage and transport of fireworks. Health and safety legislation also covers professional firework displays and displays organised as part of work activities.
The Firework (Safety) Regulations 1997 set out the requirements on the safety and sale of fireworks - these regulations are made under the Consumer Protection Act and are the responsibility of the DTI. The main aim of the new proposals is to reduce the volume of legislation and make it easier to understand both for duty holders and enforcers. The proposals will enable much of the Explosives Act 1875 and many items of secondary legislation to be repealed or revoked and replaced by an overarching set of regulations, backed up by the Approved Code of Practice and Guidance. Although the new regulations carry forward the main requirements of the Explosives Act 1875 and secondary legislation, the proposals contain a number of changes.
The main changes are to:
revise the requirements on separation distances around explosives sites to ensure that the risks to an individual living near a site is less than one in a million per year; extend the scope of the requirements to cover the preparation and storage of ammonium nitrate emulsions;
apply the requirements to the Crown, including the Ministry of Defence;
include a provision to allow a local authority to refuse or revoke an explosives licence or registration;
realign enforcement responsibilities. It is proposed that local authorities should have responsibility for stores holding less than 2 tonnes of fireworks and that the police should have responsibility for stores keeping less than 2 tonnes of high explosive other than at mines (where HSE would have responsibility for enforcement on health and safety, and the police for security); and
restrict the type and quantity of fireworks which may be kept without the need to register with the local authority.
Copies of the Consultative Document Proposals for new regulations on the
manufacture and storage of explosives (Ref. CD174) can be requested online at: http://www.hsebooks.co.uk or are available from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury CO10 2WA (Tel: 01787 881165/Fax 01787 313995).
The full text of the Consultative Document can be viewed and downloaded from the Health and Safety Executive web site at http://www.hse.gov.uk
HSE welcomes views on its proposals. Any comments should be made to:
Cherone Ashdown, Health and Safety Executive, Safety Policy Division C1, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London SE1 9HS. Tel: 020 7717 6262/Fax: 020 7717 6690 /e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org to arrive no later than Monday 10 June 2002.
Nottingham Evening Post 11 March 2002 Total Firework Ban is too Draconian a Measure
At last the Government has been forced to review the guidelines on fireworks (Post, March 4).
I find the consumer affairs minister Melanie Johnson's response pitiful (A rocket from the public forces firework rethink - March 4) considering the strength of feeling that has been expressed and the distress that has been highlighted relating to fireworks.
The Government is for once taking the correct action in looking at changing the laws on the sale of fireworks without opting for an overall ban. I would not waste my money on buying fireworks for my children, but a great many responsible people do enjoy holding a bonfire party in the back garden on November 5.
The Post campaign to call for an outright ban on firework sales to the public is a far too draconian measure. It denies people the freedom to choose whether to buy fireworks, go to a display or simply not bother.
The Government should totally ban air bombs as they are the main cause of complaints from many people.
These are the type of firework that upset pets, the elderly and young children (yes, I had sleepless nights during October and November soothing my two young kids).
The city council was criticised by the Post for not being tough enough when councillors from all three parties agreed to call for bye-laws restricting the sale of fireworks to minimal time scales and tougher penalties to traders selling fireworks to young people.
But the council agreed people should have the right to choose and by banning fireworks totally would be denying the people that right. R L, Liberal Democrats Basford Focus Team
Nottingham Evening Post 11 March 2002 Home-made bangers are not the issue
Before the facts have been considered she already says what the Government won't do. The changes which might be on offer appear to be next to nothing and a clear attempt to divide the anti-fireworks lobby. My chief grievance was with the noise and its effect on vulnerable people and animals. I was prepared to pursue just that. Not now. Let's be done with the noise and the danger to children and incautious users. Her excuse that if fireworks are banned people will make their own is no argument. Anyone producing explosives in their kitchens is in serious breach of the law and can receive severe penalties already. The law need only be enforced. Melanie Johnson should have another rethink.
MPs need to understand that lip-service is not enough. If there is no effective action well before the next election we should make it an election issue.
R C Radcliffe-on-Trent
IcHuddersfield 9 March 2002 Woman is hit by firework
A mother-of-three has been left virtually blind in one eye after a firework went off in her face. It happened as Ellen Furey was heading back from shops in Crosland Moor. Now Marcus Augustus Thomas, one of the youths said to be responsible for lighting the firework, has been given a conditional discharge by Huddersfield magistrates. The court heard that Miss Furey, 31, had only 5% sight in her left eye and could lose it completely. Thomas, 19, of Water Street, Springwood, pleaded guilty to letting off a firework in Walpole Road on October 23, last year. He was given a 12-month conditional discharge, meaning he will not be punished unless he commits another offence within a year. Unemployed Thomas was also ordered to pay £300 compensation to Miss Furey, plus £45 costs. After the hearing Miss Furey said: "I don't feel justice has been done. That compensation is just a joke after all I've suffered." Single parent Miss Furey lives with daughters Emma, 10, Michaela, nine, and Chaniece, eight, in Walpole Road. Prosecutor Rosie Hinchliffe told the court that Miss Furey had been to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary several times. The eye's iris was badly damaged and she will need a cataract operation. She could go permanently blind in her left eye. Mrs Hinchliffe said Miss Furey saw two youths, including Marcus Thomas, sitting on a wall. A fizzing noise made her jump and she dropped a packet of cough sweets. As she bent to pick them up, the firework went off in her face. Mrs Hinchliffe said the pair ran away, laughing. Thomas's solicitor, John Batchelor, said: "This poor woman was clearly injured and he feels very sorry. There was no intention to harm anybody." Miss Furey told the Examiner: "It was agony. I clutched my eye. All this wetness was streaming down my face. I thought it was tears, but it was blood. "I thought I had been shot in the eye. I hung on to a fence and got home to call an ambulance. My kids saw me and they were screaming. "I have to wear glasses and I'm scared to go out at night, because I cannot see properly. The sight in my right eye is also affected. I can hardly read the paper. "I can't take the kids to town without another adult with me because I can't keep track of them," she added.
This is Lancashire 7 March 2002 MP asks for action to curb firework problem
The government is considering what action can be taken to tackle the increasing problem of fireworks, Burnley MP Peter Pike has been told. Mr Pike, a long time campaigner for tighter controls, was given the assurance by Melanie Johnson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Competition, Consumers and Markets. In a letter to the MP, she said: "I understand the depth of current concerns about fireworks, particularly in relation to neighbourhood safety, noise and nuisance. "We are now actively considering with relevant Government departments what action can be taken within existing legislation to address these growing problems. "I am also having further talks with the industry." Mr Pike said: "I have several constituents who have written to me on this issue. "The period grows ever longer for the use of fireworks and the noise is louder." The MP added: "I support those concerns and I am personally moving to the view that to stop the abuse we should go to organised displays only. " I recognise that would not have universal support but we do need to reduce the problem."
This is Lancashire 7 March 2002 MP backs firework curbs
An MP is continuing to press for the Government to change legislation on the selling of fireworks. Bolton North-east MP David Crausby said curbing sales of the explosives was the only answer as the Department of Trade and Industry decides what action to take in the next few years. Ministers rejected a total ban in 1996 because they felt it would not work, although some types have been banned since. Mr Crausby, who has continually asked for tighter legislation, and backed the Bolton Evening News's firework campaign two years ago, said: "I think any step is a step in the right direction, but the only real answer is the curbing of sales of fireworks. "I think local authorities should organise displays as an alternative to domestic displays."
Melanie Johnson, consumer minister at the Department of Trade and Industry, said they were looking at other options after refusing a total ban on firework sales. She added: "We decided that a ban on fireworks for private use would be unworkable because it would lead to a black market and might encourage people to make their own fireworks. "We are also aware that fireworks, when used safely and with consideration for others, are a popular form of family entertainment."
The Firework (Safety) Regulations introduced in 1997 aimed to increase the safety of fireworks and were designed to reduce the level of disturbance and nuisance. The regulations banned certain fireworks from being sold to the public, like aerial shells, mortars and large professional display fireworks. Bangers and Chinese crackers are now also banned and the explosive content, size and weight of some fireworks have been reduced. The sale of airbombs will be banned from 2003, as they are frequently identified as the fireworks set off in the street by hooligans.
Ms Johnson has also asked the fireworks industry to consider how noise and nuisance may be cut further. She said: "This demonstrates the responsible view that the industry is taking. Our annual fireworks safety campaign will also continue to encourage more considerate behaviour by the public when using fireworks."
Greenock Telegraph Online, 6 March 2002, MP wants to restrict times fireworks can be sold
MP Jim Sheridan is calling on people power to control the use of fireworks.
Mr Sheridan, who represents West Renfrewshire, would like to see all public firework displays monitored by licensed professionals.
He wants also to restrict the times of year fireworks can be bought and set off.
Shops selling fireworks would also be licensed under the proposed curbs.
A petition is being sent to all residents' associations, community councils and veterinary clinics in Inverclyde for people to support the campaign.
Mr Sheridan said: "Fireworks used to be a fun event. Now they are let off recklessly, at any time of the day or night throughout the year and are causing enormous distress to people and their pets."
ITN News 6 March 2002 Australia A Fireworks Factory Exploded in Perth's Hill
A fireworks factory has blown up at Carmel in Perth's Hills area on the west coast of Australia, causing numerous explosions and fires. A fireworks factory exploded in Perth's Hills area on Wednesday (March 6), sparking numerous bushfires, shaking houses and sending brown smoke across the city. No-one was injured when Cardile Fireworks in the suburb of Carmel blew up shortly before 9am (1900gmt), but police were evacuating two nearby schools and hundreds of houses as fire crews in 30 trucks battled the blaze. People from across the metropolitan area reported hearing and feeling several blasts, which set off bushfires and forced police to impose a 800-metre exclusion zone around Carmel. Firefighters fear a secondary explosion. It is understood the factory imported fireworks from China and assembled them on site. The area includes installations such as television transmission towers, schools and a nursing home. Police said smoke from the fire was not toxic and was no more dangerous than "a normal bushfire". However, people in the immediate vicinity, especially with respiratory problems, were advised to stay indoors. Some talkback callers had feared the explosions were an earthquake, following a tremor measuring five on the Richter scale, 240km north-east of Perth on Tuesday (March 5). Police were considering whether to expand the exclusion zone to 1km, as a precaution in the event of another blast.
IcHuddersfield 5 March 2002 Blast drama after chase
Army experts carried out a controlled explosion in Coventry on a package which was believed to contain dynamite. An explosives team was called in during a car chase drama, which left police officers injured. The A444 Phoenix Way, linking Binley Road in Stoke to the north of the city, had to be closed in both directions for two hours after a package looking like sticks of dynamite was discovered. Insp Roughton said the package was now believed to be a professional firework rather than a bomb. Any witnesses are asked to call police on 0845 1135000
This is Local London 5 March 2002 Commons hears fireworks bill
Enfield North MP Joan Ryan is continuing her crusade for a ban on fireworks. Ms Ryan called for the end to public firework sales as she introduced a ten-minute rule Bill in the House of Commons last Wednesday. During the speech she highlighted the case of 13-year-old Martin Lamparter of Enfield, who was killed by a firework in a tragic accident last December. She said: "A ban on the retail sale of fireworks to the general public is the only way, satisfactorily, to address the many problems created by fireworks and to restore them to their role as a celebratory and pleasurable phenomenon. "There is a tremendous need and equally tremendous support for this Bill." The Bill has won the backing of the National Campaign for Firework Safety, cross-party members and constituents. Five deaths in the last five years have been attributed to fireworks and 972 people were admitted to hospital with firework related injuries. Ms Ryan said that current legislation was ineffective and that police could only act after the event by using powers under the Misuse of Fireworks Act.
She added that statistics showed 40 to 50 per cent of firework injuries were to children aged 15 or under and pointed out concerns regarding fireworks contributing to vandalism and anti-social behaviour. Under the Bill, there would be a complete ban on the sale of fireworks and instead it would be made a legal requirement for organised events to be run by 'pyrotechnic professionals' with training and a licence.
DTI minister Melanie Johnson has since said that the industry had agreed to ban 'air bomb' fireworks from 2003. The Bill is set to go to a second reading, possibly in April.
IcHuddersfield 4 March 2002 `No firework ban' praised
A Huddersfield industry leader has welcomed the Government's decision not to ban fireworks. Consumer minister Melanie Johnson said a total ban would be unworkable and lead to widespread black market trading. Her decision came after talks with the firework industry. Huddersfield's John Woodhead, a spokesman for British firework makers, said the Government working with the industry was the best way to make sure of safety. Talks since last November have led to plans to end the supply of airbombs next year. Orders had already been placed for the fireworks, which let off one loud bang, for this year. Martin Guest, the managing director of Black Cat Fireworks, based at Crosland Hill, was also involved in the talks. Mr Woodhead said: "There was concern that these airbombs were being sold in pocket money packs of four for 99p, leading to noise and nuisance. "That will end when supplies run out after next Bonfire Night." But Mr Woodhead said complaints about fireworks being set off long before Bonfire Night were largely due to the illegal trade. Black market traders were managing to order shipments of fireworks from China without being traced, he said. Mr Woodhead called for tighter import controls to combat such trading. There is an agreement between the Government and the industry that fireworks will only be sold in the three weeks before November 5 and just before New Year. Mr Woodhead wants a two-tier system where retailers are registered, and have to pay a higher licence fee, to sell fireworks all year.
Nottingham Evening Post 4 March 2002 A Rocket from the Public forces Firework rethink,
The Government has been forced into reviewing its guidelines on fireworks, under pressure from the public and MPs. Consumer affairs minister Melanie Johnson has announced she will consider changing the law to address the growing problem of firework misuse - but she ruled out a total ban on the private use of fireworks. She also said that further talks would take place with the fireworks industry, to consider how noise and nuisance can be cut.
But her announcement falls short of the aim of the Post's Be Safe Not Sorry campaign: a ban on selling fireworks to the public. And it has received a mixed response with many supporters of a ban, who say not enough is being done to protect people.
Some local campaigners, including Broxtowe MP Nick Palmer, hail the move as a step in the right direction.
Others are less impressed. Grenville Anscombe, of Farndale Drive, Wollaton, who supports the Post's call for a ban, said: "Fireworks have made us become victims in our own homes. "I am only asking for more understanding by the Government and I hope the law looks more closely at the victims' plight. "I have written to Tony Blair and have asked him to ban fireworks, and I have written to local councillors to ask for their help. "I hope things can be put right for the future, but it doesn't seem like things are happening. "We are still going to have youngsters setting off fireworks this year if they are not banned."
Melanie Johnson has previously said she would only consider a change in the law if there was enough pressure. But, after a second debate in the Commons last Wednesday showed some support for a ban, she announced that she would be "actively considering with relevant government departments what action can be taken within existing legislation". She added: " Millions of fireworks are sold and used safely each year. "However, I know that people have serious concerns about their use. "I am fully aware of the depth of feeling and opinion expressed and I continue to take a close personal interest in fireworks issues."
Earlier this year, Tony Blair hinted at a change in the law. The Prime Minister said: "Once we have the full statistics and survey what has happened this year, we will certainly consider if changes are necessary." But the report will not be compiled by the Department of Trade and Industry until this summer at the earliest which means any changes in the law could not then be considered for at least a few months - virtually ruling out new legislation before November 5 this year.
Broxtowe MP Dr Palmer co-sponsored Wednesday's debate in the Commons, which was put forward by Labour MP Joan Ryan.
Their position was supported by all the MPs present, and shortly afterwards Ms Johnson said she would look at changing existing laws.
Dr Palmer has welcomed the Government's change of tactic, saying it is a step forward and helps to bridge the gap between the Prime Minister's promise and calls for a ban. He said: "I welcome Melanie Johnson's announcement. "But I am also trying to talk to Tony Blair personally to encourage a change in policies. "It's a first step and more can be done with existing laws to make fireworks less of a nuisance. "I am still supporting a change in the law banning fireworks. "The pressure needs to be kept up."
But Ms Johnson has insisted that the Government will not consider a ban. She said: "We decided, after careful consideration, that a total ban on fireworks for private use would be unworkable, because it could lead to a black market in fireworks and might also encourage people to make home-made fireworks. "We are also aware that fireworks, when used safely and with consideration for others, are a popular form of family entertainment. "Its clear that many people are upset by the levels of noise and nuisance caused by fireworks. "I have asked the fireworks industry to consider how noise and nuisance may be cut further. "I am glad to say that they have responded positively and have taken the step of ending the supply of airbombs."
This is Local London 4 March 2002 Campaign leads to curb on fireworks
Fireworks are to be restricted by the Government. This follows a successful campaign by a family whose terrified dog attacked itself during a display. Rocky, their 11-year-old Staff-fordshire bull terrier, went crazy and practically ripped his own face off during a display. His injuries were so serious he had to be put to sleep. His owner Stan Abbey, 72, of Farnol Road, Temple Hill, was so upset, his daughter Pamela Turley launched a campaign to try and restrict private fire-work displays. It was supported by Dartford MP Dr Howard Stoate and 46 of his fellow MPs.
Now new measures will taken by the Government and the firework industry to voluntarily limit displays. These include restricting the sale of fireworks to three weeks before November 5 and a few days afterward. There will be a similar restrictive period over the New Year. There will be legislation in 2003 to ban the sales of "airbombs" which have been identified as the fireworks which are set off in the street by hooligans. The Government also proposes to give local authorities the power to take away a shop keeper's licence if fireworks are sold to people aged 18 or under.
Mr Abbey said: "I'm extremely pleased with the reaction from the Government. "It's a good start toward stopping the suffering of animals, particularly restricting sales over bonfire night and New Year. "If they can enforce this it will be good. "It would not have been possible without everyone's support for my daughter's petition and Dr Stoate in the House of Commons. "He's done a good job."
Consumer Minister Melanie Johnson, said: "I know people have serious concerns about the use of fireworks. "I am fully aware of the depth of feeling and opinion expressed and I continue to take a close, personal interest in fireworks issues."
Daily Mirror, 2 March 2002: Fire Bomb City Scare
A man who threw a fire bomb in a busy city centre was wrestled to the ground by a passer-by yesterday. One person was injured as the device - thought to be a ballcock packed with fireworks - went off.
Cliff Unsworth, in his 40's, held the man until police arrived. Shops were later evacuated in Bolton, Great Manchester while police carried out a controlled explosion. They said there was no terrorist link.
This is Bradford 2 March 2002 Jail for rioter who used firework 'like a gun'
A Bradford rioter who held a firework at waist height "like a gun" before firing it at police horses has been jailed for five-and-a-half years. The city's Crown Court heard how 21-year-old Mohammed Rashid, pictured, fired the repeating firework horizontally at police lines during last summer's riots. After his shots fell inches short of officers he aimed at horses hoping to frighten them. During his four-hour involvement in last July's disturbances he also threw scores of half-bricks at the police, said prosecutor Howard Crowson. Rashid, of Normanton, Derby, pleaded guilty to a charge of riot. Describing the firework as a "potentially dangerous, if not lethal weapon," Judge Stephen Gullick told Rashid: "You discharged at least three missiles and they were clearly aimed at the legs and feet of advancing police officers. "On one occasion you directed them towards horses because you knew they were frightened by fireworks.
This is Brighton and Hove 28 February 2002 Vets cure pets' firework phobia
A Sussex vets' surgery is launching a drug-free training course to cure pets of their fear of fireworks. The sight and sound of pyrotechnics going off can drive them barking mad. Dogs have been known to shoot under the furniture, tremble with fear or even resort to destroying the house. While most of us find fireworks fun, man's best friend often finds the whole gunpowder experience so traumatic their owners sometimes resort to drugging them. In recent years, the sound of fireworks exploding in the skies over the city of Brighton and Hove has become such a regular weekend occurrence that vets have been inundated with freaked-out pets. Sarita Sharma, of the Grove Lodge Veterinary Group in Preston Drove, Brighton, noticed the phenomenon.
She said: "I had only been living in Brighton for a year, having moved from London, and noticed an abundance of fireworks being set off at all times of the year in Brighton "You don't get the same effect in London because it's a much bigger city. It was quite noticeable because we had clients coming into the surgery in search of treatment for their dogs' phobias."
Nottingham Evening Post 26 February 2002 Bang to Rights!
A trader selling fireworks from his market stall has been prosecuted under 19th-Century legislation. Ian Nicholson was fined £300 for selling fireworks with names like Atom Bomb and Demon FX at Watnall open-air market. City magistrates heard they were lying loose on the stall - "a disaster waiting to happen". Nicholson was caught by Trading Standards officers during an inspection on Sunday, November 4. He was prosecuted under the little known 1875 Explosives Act. It is thought to be the first time anyone has been prosecuted in Notts for selling fireworks from an open market stall. The court heard the legislation banned the sale of fireworks from public places. Prosecutor Richard Sneath, of Notts trading standards, said: "Fireworks are by nature a hazardous and dangerous product. "Being exposed for sale to all on a busy open market stall outside the requirements of the legislation, is nothing short of a disaster waiting to happen." He said traders had to store fireworks in a metal cabinet at the back of their shop and displayed items had to be in a locked glass cabinet. A trading standards officer, who paid £2 for a packet of ten Demon FX rockets, saw seven packets of Proton Bombs and eight packets of Atom Bombs on the stall. This was far above the legal limit of two kilos which can be taken out of a cabinet to show a customer. Nicholson, of Cherrytree Street, Elsecar, Barnsley, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Explosives Act. He was fined £300 and ordered to pay £227
Nottingham Evening Post , 26 February 2002, Protect us from dangers of fireworks
It's good to see the authorities throwing the book at a trader who sold unsecured fireworks from a market stall. The statute book in question was a dusty tome - the trader was collared with the help of a law enacted in 1875.
The Explosives Act piloted through Parliament by Disraeli's government was intended to protect us from more serious incidents than could have happened at Watnall. That said, the consequences of selling fireworks in a public place could still have been serious enough. A stray cigarette end could have triggered an explosion, or youngsters could have stolen the fireworks because they were exposed, not secured. The mere fact that retailers are required by law to display such volatile merchandise in a locked case - and to store undisplayed items in a metal cabinet - tells you everything you need to know about fireworks. They are potentially lethal explosive devices for which current controls are inadequate. Which is the whole point of our Be Safe Not Sorry campaign. Yes, let's use 19th Century law where appropriate. But better by far to have a 21st Century law that will put fireworks, once sold by an approved source, only in the hands of people connected with licensed public displays. With a law like that, the Watnall case could not have happened
icScotland 25 February 2002 Fireworks factory blast kills one and seven missing
A child has been killed and seven adults are missing after an explosion at a fireworks factory. The unlicensed factory was levelled by the explosion, in Yanshui town. The explosion, on the eve of a Lantern Festival parade, could be heard three kilometres away.
This is Herefordshire 22 February 2002 Store plan by firework firm
Permission is being sought from Herefordshire Council for the conversion of outbuildings on a Staplow farm and the erection of a single-storey magazine to house fireworks. If approved, the firm Firework Factors, based at Pegs Farm, off Hollow Lane, could have the capacity to store up to 500 tons of fireworks. Businessmen John Nicholls has said that two local jobs could be created and that less than 10 per cent of the stored weight of fireworks would be explosives. He added that all fireworks would be stored in burns resistant cartons, for safety.
Northumberland Gazette 21 February 2002, Firework Charge
A trial in the case of a Seahouses man charged with throwing a firework in the village centre.
Scott Priestley, 21, of St Aidans, pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared before Alnwick magistrates last week and the case was adjourned for pre-trial review until March 13.
The defendant, who was told he need not attend the next hearing, is alleged to have committed the offence on November 1 last year
Evening Chronicle 14 February 2002 Villains who are playing with fire
Trading standards chiefs fear there could be an illegal black market trade in fireworks on Tyneside. People are travelling to the Continent, buying cheap fireworks, then bringing them back to the North East and selling them. Experts say the fireworks, which may not comply with high British safety standards, could be dangerous. The concern is highlighted in a report showing last year's Guy Fawkes night had the highest firework injuries since 1995. Hospital accident and emergency departments in Tyne Wear reported 31 injuries. Bill Colwill, Gateshead Council's head of commercial and consumer services, said the true picture could be much higher. He said: "If someone is concerned about the misuse of fireworks and they have a burn, they may tell the hospital that it happened in the house, or if someone is embarrassed because of a firework accident, they may not give the true details."
In 1995 there were 68 reported injuries in Tyne Wear, in 1998 this fell to 14 after the law was tightened, restricting the type of fireworks legally sold and raising the age for the purchase of fireworks to 18. Injuries in 1999 were 22 and 19 in 2000. The sudden increase in injuries is a disappointment after measures to improve safety, including trading standards officers visiting retailers to remind them of the law and inspecting fireworks on sale.
Although the number of shops selling fireworks has fallen, it is suspected there is a black market of fireworks bought in Europe, said Mr Colwill. He said: ``We have had reports and complaints of fireworks sold from households in the region. But no proof of it yet. "Fireworks sold via a shop need to be made to a recognised standard to confirm they are safe and storage also has to comply with legislation. "Fireworks sold from homes have the potential to cause devastating effects. If anyone knows anything about black market sales we want them to contact us."
This is Local London 11 February 2002 Crazed dog's terror leads to campaign
Dartford: Support for limiting firework displays gathering momentum
A petition launched to limit firework displays, after a terrified dog ripped its own face off, is being supported by almost 50 MPs in the House of Commons. Rocky, an 11-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, went crazy during a fire works display, and had to be put down because of the seriousness of his injuries. His owner Stan Abbey, 77, of Farnol Road, Temple Hill, was so upset, his daughter Pamela Turley launched a campaign to try and restrict private firework displays.
She gathered more than 1,200 signatures and 150 letters, and sent them to Dartford MP Dr Howard Stoate, who has enlisted the support of 46 MPs in the House of Commons. Dr Stoate introduced an Early Day Motion calling for the Government to legislate against the noise and nuisance of firework displays which cause great distress to pets. Widower Stan Abbey, said: "Everyone I've spoken to is up in arms about fireworks going off. If there had been restrictions may be my dog Rocky would not have died. "But I'm really pleased Dr Stoate has got the support of so many MPs. "The noise caused by private firework displays causes far too much stress for animals." Mrs Turley, 47, of Kingsley Avenue, Dartford, who launched the petition back in November last year, has been overwhelmed by the support of residents. She said: "Just to read the letters about the suffering of their pets, is enough to make you cry. "One disabled lady told me how her love birds died of shock, and a dog owner has to keep her pet doped up to the eyeballs for three months during the fireworks season so it doesn't go crazy."
Dr Stoate's EDM also called for a national campaign to encourage people to restrict their use of fireworks to traditional celebrations such as Guy Fawkes night and Diwali. He said: "I have heard from dozens of angry residents and pet owners in recent weeks who are fed up with fireworks being let off by their neighbours, sometimes once or twice a week, late at night or in the small hours, terrifying their pets and stopping them from getting to sleep. "All I am asking is for people to spare a thought for their neighbours and pets when they buy fireworks."
ICScotland 10 February 2002 Fireworks fire in central China kills at least nine
At least nine people were killed when a customer lit a firecracker at a fireworks stand at a mall in China. The ensuing fire burned two stories of the shopping centre in Xinjiang, a city in Heenan province, the China News Service said. It says many other people are injured and the total death toll is not known yet.
ICScotland 9 February 2002 Six killed by home-built bomb
Six people, four of them teenagers, have died after a bomb being built by a junior high school gang exploded accidentally in southern China. The blast in Rongxian, a rural county in Guangxi province, came a day after the students stole 100 kilograms of gunpowder from a nearby fireworks factory. The state-run China Daily said they were planning to use the bomb against a rival gang.
Nottingham Evening Post, 7 February 2002: Air Bombs: Pressure Paying Off
The Evening Post launched a campaign last December calling for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the general public. Be Safe Not Sorry has received massive support from MPs and councillors, and even Prime Minister Tony Blair has promised to look at the issue. Today, the firework industry has pledged to help us tackle firework nuisance by phasing out all imports and distribution of air bombs, one of the noisiest and cheapest fireworks available. GAYLE GRAHAM reports
Noisy and potentially dangerous "air bomb" fireworks are set to be phased out - thanks to pressure from the Evening Post. Fifteen wholesalers and retailers who together dominate the fireworks market across the country have decided to stop importing and supplying air bombs at an estimated cost of £20m in lost sales.
But the move falls short of the aim of the Post's Be Safe Not Sorry campaign, a ban on the sale of fireworks except for organised displays.
The businesses, led by John Woodhead of Tuxford-based Cosmic Fireworks, said the move was prompted by the Post campaign. He had also contacted councillors John Clarke and Graham Jackson, who launched a public consultation on fireworks in Nottingham.
"We did not agree with a ban, but we recognised that something must be done to deal with the problem," said Mr Woodhead. "Air bombs are very appealing for youngsters as they are both noisy and cheap. "Fireworks are a mega nuisance. The problem has become a lot worse in the past year and this is something which has been highlighted in the Evening Post. "The industry aims to remove single tube air bombs so that children cannot get hold of them. "It won't happen overnight because there are so many in the supply chain." Around 120 million fireworks are sold each year, of which around 12 million are air bombs. This type of firework appeals to youngsters because sometimes four can be bought for as little as £2. Some have up to 25 explosive charges, each equivalent to a banger being set off. In 1997, Government regulations banned bangers but failed to do anything about air bombs. The next noisiest fireworks after air bombs are generally only available in box sets, or singularly for more than £20, which Mr Woodhead believes is beyond the pocket of an average youngster .
Mr Woodhead also called for the Government to act to tackle the problem of bootlegged fireworks. "The industry will not be able to battle the issue of firework nuisance on its own," he said. "There are so many bootleg sales because no one monitors where the fireworks are coming from, or where they end up. "The industry is doing its bit by reducing the sale of air bombs, but we are calling for the Government to do its bit by bringing in laws to tackle bootlegging." Mr Woodhead added that he hoped that the industry's voluntary stance would be backed by new laws, making it illegal for anyone to have bootleg air bombs.
The Post has joined councillors Clarke and Graham, chairmen of the Notts police and fire authorities respectively, in calling for a ban on the sale of fireworks to members of the public. Both are delighted that the firework industry has taken a positive step to tackle the nuisance. Coun Clarke said: "I certainly welcome their decision. "Myself and Coun Jackson have personally called for a restriction on the sale of fireworks other than to organisers of licensed displays. "An effort to reduce the number of a particular type of firework by the industry is proof of its commitment to reducing the misuse of fireworks. "It is certainly a start, and I hope it makes a difference so that next November 5 - and the weeks before and after - is less noisy." Coun Jackson said: "The pressure needs to be kept up so that firework noise levels can be reduced by next Bonfire Night. "Reducing the number of air bombs being sold is excellent news and I congratulate the industry for making this stand."
Latest figures show that in 2000 there were 96 injuries caused by air bombs in the UK, making it the third most common cause of firework injury.
Nottingham Evening Post, 7 February 2002 Air Bomb Ban Only The Start
Phasing out 'air bomb' fireworks is a small step in the right direction. But cutting noise pollution is not the most important element of our Be Safe Not Sorry campaign. Our chief aim is to get the Government to outlaw the sale of fireworks except to approved operators connected with council-licensed displays. That should lead to a massive cut in back garden injuries, and mischief-making by tearaways on the streets. Besides, if air bombs are phased out we will still be left with 108 million smaller fireworks.
Each one is a potential accident - and the fewer of them in public circulation, the better.
This is Cheshire, 7 February 2002: Firework rogues receive a rocket
Lowton and Golborne residents have overwhelmingly backed a council campaign to get stricter controls placed on the sale of fireworks. A forum of around 2,000 residents from across the borough took part in a survey to gauge public opinion. And results show that 80 per cent of residents want the period during which fireworks can be sold each year reducing to one week or less. The survey was carried out as part of a campaign to persuade the Government that there was overwhelming support for a change in law. It follows record number of complaints last year about the length of celebrations and noise of fireworks. Clr David Molyneux, the council's cabinet member for regulation issues, said: "There is a growing consensus that bonfire night celebrations are causing intolerable problems for the majority of residents."
"This is not a case of trying to spoil people's fun - we just want to get a better balance."
IcWales 5 February 2002 End the sale of fireworks to public, says council
Pressure is growing for a blanket ban on the sale of fireworks to the general public. Pet owners and parents with small children in particular are angry that fireworks have become more powerful and are being fired without warning on various days besides November 5 or New Year's Eve. Now Conwy County Borough Council has joined the fray, calling on the National Assembly and Westminster to end the sale of fireworks to members of the public. It is also concerned that in coastal areas, fireworks discharged randomly could be confused with distress flares from craft at sea - leading to false alarms or genuine cases of distress going unnoticed. It is asking AMs and MPs to legislate so that fireworks are available only to licensed operators of fireworks displays. Muriel Howard, a councillor in Colwyn Bay, said she had been inundated with support after she expressed her frustrations about fireworks frightening her dog. "A lot of young parents are un-happy. You put your baby or youngster to bed and they're woken up by fireworks," she said. "Fireworks these days make a really big noise. They frighten elderly people." She said fireworks could be controlled if they were available only to people who applied to their local authority for a licence to hold specific events in a specific place. She also said that, because of safety risks, shops and supermarkets should not be allowed to sell fireworks all year round. "People aged under 18 aren't supposed to buy them but they do get hold of fireworks. They don't think about what could happen to them when they play around with fireworks. Miss Howard said she was not trying to spoil people's fun.
The Scotsman 5 February 2002 MP blasts fireworks laws after horror attack
An Edinburgh MP is urging the Government to crackdown on the sale of fireworks to stop animals being injured and killed. John Barrett, Scottish Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, said he was horrified to hear fireworks were set off in a car containing two dogs, which later had to be put down, in a case highlighted by the Scottish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals. The SSPCA estimates more than 8000 animals were injured or killed last year because of fireworks. Mr Barrett said local councils needed greater powers to control the use and sale of fireworks. "The SSPCA report makes for horrifying reading. Reports of deliberate attacks on animals with fireworks are particularly disturbing." He has tabled a parliamentary motion for more control of the sale and use of fireworks. "Local councils should be given more powers to control firework sales through licensed retailers to better regulate the times of the year and times of the day in which fireworks can be set off." Mr Barrett said there needed to be a clampdown on under-age sales. He added: "This new information only adds to the widespread feeling in the House of Commons and throughout the country, that action is now urgently required."
This is Worcestershire 5 February 2002: Apology after firework went through roof
The host of a party where a firework exploded and landed on a neighbour's roof says she stopped the display as soon as it was realised they were dangerous. Patricia Hayes, who lives in Stoulton, was holding a party on Friday night when one firework was blown on to Elizabeth Dufty's roof. Miss Dufty told the Evening News yesterday the firework crashed through the glass over the breakfast room at about 10pm. "We realised after we'd set them off that they weren't the kind that should be set off in the garden," said Mrs Hayes. "We commented that they shouldn't be available to the public. "I went to see Miss Dufty on Saturday morning to apologise. "I'm glad no one was injured but I think she's sensationalised it. It's pathetic. "It didn't explode on her roof, it exploded in the air. I don't know why she's complaining when we've lived here since 1994 and only set off three fireworks. "Miss Dufty owns a field nearby and every year a firework's night is held. "This is an unfortunate accident and it won't be done again." The incident is now in the hands of the insurers.
The Times 4 February 2002: Fireworks hurt 8,000 animals by a Scotland Correspondent
Thousands of animals were injured by fireworks in Scotland last year, according to a report published yesterday by Scotland's biggest animal charity. The Scottish SPCA has called for a change in laws regulating the sale of fireworks after a survey of vets throughout Scotland showed that up to 10,000 pets and farm animals were killed or injured in 2001.
According to its report - Fireworks and Animals: A Survey of Scottish Vets in 2001 - dozens of animals were killed by deliberate firework attacks while thousands more suffered stress, anxiety and accidents that led, in some cases, to their being put to sleep.
Doreen Graham, a Scottish SPCA spokeswoman, said that the charity received hundreds of calls throughout last year concerning firework-related injuries to animals. She added: "More than 90 per cent of vets in Scotland treated animals for problems related to fireworks from stress and anxiety to deliberate attacks. It is impossible to know how many wild animals were affected.
"The problem is growing because fireworks are no longer restricted to Guy Fawkes on November 5. We are not calling on an outright ban on fireworks, but we need tighter regulation on their sale and use."
The survey of 193 veterinary practices revealed that more than 8,000 animals were killed or treated for injuries suffered around November 5 alone.
The Scottish SPCA launches a month-long telephone campaign this week, Dump Squibs. Callers may vote for the campaign to change firework laws on 0871-871 3770.
This is Worcestershire 4 February 2002: Windy rocket horror show worry
A woman who narrowly missed being showered with glass after a neighbour's rocket exploded over her home is urging people to be aware of the dangers of letting off fireworks during bad weather. Elizabeth Dufty had set up her ironing board beneath a glass roof in her home in Stoulton, near Worcester, and gone upstairs. When she returned, she discovered a hole in the breakfast room roof with part of a firework sticking through. Glass had showered the room and was blown into the lounge and kitchen after the rocket hit the wire-reinforced glass at around 10pm, last Friday. She believed the rocket had come from the house next door, where a party was being held. The near-miss has prompted a warning to revellers against doing the same thing. "A few moments later, I'd have been standing there," said Miss Dufty. "It doesn't bear thinking about what the consequences could have been. "I think the winds deflected it towards my house.
The Scotsman 3 February 2002 8,000 animals hit by firework terror
More than 8,000 pets and farm animals were killed or injured by fireworks during last year's Guy Fawkes celebrations, Scotland's largest animal charity said last night. Vets across Scotland have told the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that 2001's festivities were the worst they have ever experienced for firework injuries to animals.
A survey of almost 193 Scots vet practices revealed that 8,243 animals were killed or injured in the four months from September to December. In several cases, household pets were burned alive. The SSPCA fears hundreds more animals could have fallen victim to this year's Hogmanay celebrations and has called for immediate changes in the law regulating firework sales. "We contacted 88% of the vets in Scotland and all of them said they had treated animals for problems related to fireworks, ranging from stress and anxiety to deliberate attacks," SSPCA spokeswoman Doreen Graham said.
"In one case kittens were killed in a house fire after a firework was put through a letterbox. Two dogs had to be put to sleep after fireworks were put into a car in which they were trapped. "The problem is growing because fireworks are no longer restricted to November 5, but are used all year round. We are not calling for an outright ban but we need tighter regulation on their sale and use." According to the charity's report - Fireworks and Animals: A Survey of Scottish Vets in 2001 - dogs and cats accounted for around 90% of the cases reported, although vets also treated dozens of small animals, birds, horses and farm stock.
The SSPCA wants retailers to be bound by a statutory code of practice which would restrict the period when fireworks can be sold, as well as controls on their explosive capacity and enforcement of a minimum age of purchase. Veterinary surgeon Alistair Marks, 41, from the Oak Tree Veterinary Centre in Edinburgh, said: "It used to be a small problem around November 5, but it has become far greater as the firework season has extended to several months. "Fireworks are serious weapons in the wrong hands but there is a minority of people who would use fireworks to intentionally injure.
"They should be available for short periods of time and only to designated people who can handle them responsibly."
Peter Smith, a vet from Airdrie, Lanarkshire, said 2001 had been the worst year yet for injuries to pets.
"This year started earlier and lasted longer than I can ever remember. We must put pressure on legislators to introduce tighter controls on the sale of these products," he said. Kerry Littlejohn of Ashgrove Veterinary Centre in Aberdeen said: "We are treating an increasing number of pets that are suffering panic attacks. The number of severe cases where sedatives have to given out is also increasing." She added: "There needs to be a change in the law to prevent children getting their hands on them."
The SSPCA is launching a month-long campaign this week in a bid to change the law on fireworks.
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