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Opinion : Should the use of fireworks by the public be banned?

| November 7, 2017

A firework explodes in Upper Green Street, High Wycombe.

Thankfully November 5th is over again for another year.

Bonfire night is supposed to be a night of enjoyment and fun to celebrate the failure of the Gun Powder plot which attempted to assassinate King James I of England and VI of Scotland in 1605.

However 412 years later what is supposed to be a time of celebration has turned into a living nightmare for many.

The law says that fireworks must not be let off between 11.00pm and 7.00am, except on Chinese New Year, Diwali and New Year’s Eve, when the period is extended until 1.00am. On Guy Fawkes Night the period is extended until midnight. However this restriction does not apply to displays organised by local Councils.

Do you know that it’s illegal to set off fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or public place? Breaking these laws can result in an on the spot fine of £90.

However in Northern Ireland the regulations are different as any purchase or use of fireworks requires a licence. This includes personal displays held in the back garden.

I wonder how many £90 fines were issued to people letting fireworks off in the street this year? Probably very few. Yet fireworks being let off in the street is quite a problem in Wycombe.

Only today my good self learnt of a case where hundreds of pounds worth of damage was caused to a car parked beside the road in a residential street in High Wycombe. Take a look at the video clip (below) which appears on the Upper Green Street & Green Street High Wycombe Facebook page.

Taken from a security camera, the clip shows what happens when a firework is let off in the street.

In the above clip we see an explosive substance (gunpowder) being detonated in a residential street, it was an act that would lead to damage and the flash and bang would terrorise the local neighbours. However because it was a firework the TV cameras did not turn up and the area was not sealed off while forensics gathered evidence. It’s an explosion that caused damage and terror in the vicinity but was not considered a ‘terrorist incident’ by the authorities.

As for not letting fireworks off between certain hours the curfew times are often ignored, as anyone who lives in the Booker and Castlefield areas of Wycombe will tell you.

Let’s face it anyone who lights a firework in the street and runs off is very unlikely to be caught, anyone who lets off a banger at 2.00am in the morning is unlikely to be caught either. I fear the current law is impracticable, it’s more of a gentleman’s agreement than an enforceable law.

In my opinion some of the ‘banger’ fireworks are far too loud. Is it right that animals and children are disturbed and upset by noisy fireworks?

Surely it’s time to accept that Guy Fawkes failed in 1605 and 412 years later the use of fireworks should be limited to properly organised displays under the careful supervision of professionals?

I feel the rest of the United Kingdom should adopt the law that applies to Northern Ireland, i.e. if you are going to use fireworks then you need to be licensed.

There is actually a petition on the Parliament website which calls to ‘Change the laws governing the use of fireworks to include a ban on public use‘. With over 87,200 signatures gathered so far it shows the level of support there is for a change in the law.

In my opinion it’s about time the use of fireworks by the public was consigned to the pages of history books along with Guy Fawkes.

What do you think?

My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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