Wednesday 22 May 2024
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Nottingham’s Public Health chief explains Forest Rec fireworks and bonfire cancellation

Bonfire Night attracts around 40,000 people at the Forest Recreation Ground.

A Public Health chief has explained why large-scale outdoor events like Bonfire Night are being cancelled in Nottingham.

Nottingham City Council announced on 5 October it will be cancelling its Bonfire Night and fireworks display at the Forest Recreation Ground on Friday, November 5.

Bonfire Night attracts around 40,000 people at the Forest Recreation Ground over a five-hour period and concerns remained over Covid safety.

Unlike some cities which host a Bonfire Night celebration within a gated venue, like a sports ground where numbers can be controlled, access to the Forest is completely open, said the council.

Lucy Hubber, Public Health director for Nottingham said: “I think it is really important with all these events that there is a collection of different decisions that are made.

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“Covid is one element of them. Outdoor events are not a single group – so the way that people interact in these outdoor events, how long they are standing in one place and how much they move and pass are part of the considerations.

“Really different if you can control the entry and test people which we have done with some of the festivals we have had like Detonate back in September.

“They were able to use Covid passes to check people. These big access open events where people are standing still in a large crowd for a long period of time really changes that whole dynamic.

“So we don’t have a single response to outdoor events in the city. We do look at each event and take into account all of the different mitigating measures we can put into Covid.”

Councillor Eunice Campbell-Clark, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council, added:

“Public safety is the over-riding factor in our decision-making and when all options were considered it was felt – like many other towns and cities across the country – that reluctantly we could not ensure a safe event with such large visitor numbers.

“Bonfire Night brings together a large, and often static, crowd in an open environment which is difficult to control and manage. We can’t regulate numbers attending and it would be extremely challenging to implement Covid-safe measures.

“We sincerely hope that the situation will be markedly different next year and we can bring this popular event back to the Forest.”

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