Plans to encourage quieter fireworks and better advertising of community events have been voted through almost unanimously, meaning they will now come into effect in Nottingham.
The proposals include encouraging private sellers to stock ‘quieter fireworks’, and a PR campaign about the impact they can have on animals and people living with PTSD and autism.
The plan received the backing of all but one councillor – Conservative Roger Steel, who said it showed the ‘nanny state was alive and kicking’, and that noise limits already applied to legally-bought fireworks.
The motion was brought to the council by the leader of the opposition, Councillor Kevin Clarke, who is the leader of the Clifton Independents.
Councillor Clarke, who represents the Clifton East, said: “Fireworks are used throughout the year to mark a whole ocean of events, and I hope that continues long into the future.
“In a year that has offered very little to celebrate, it is absolutely not our intention to be working against anything that brings people joy.
“However while they do bring joy to many, they also cause distress to many more.
“The intention is not to stop firework displays outright, but to simply apply limitations which will allow animal owners to better safeguard their animals, and to limit the damage that we people cause to wildlife.
“By campaigning to reduce the maximum noise level of fireworks sold to the public, by tightening the rules of public displays, and reeducating the public about how to mitigate the effects on animals, we hope to make a real difference in the lives of many animals.”
Councillor Maria Watson represents Clifton East for the Clifton Independents, and told the meeting: “While I am sure there will be people who will disagree with our stance, and we may be accused of being a snowflake generation, we firmly believe we have a responsibility to look after animals, and are on the right side of this debate.
“With the modern addition of lasers and drones, I see no reason why better regulated and quieter firework displays will in any way imp[act people’s enjoyment of them, and I’m sure we will see many more fantastic displays in this great city.
“While we have taken the decision to primarily focus on the effects on animals, it is not just animals that this motion will benefit.
“PTSD UK, states that many sufferers and combat veterans often find fireworks difficult to deal with. The sudden sharp sounds of fireworks being particularly problematic.
“Combat Stress, a veteran’s mental health charity, reports a nine percent rise in calls to their 24 hour helpline around Guy Fawkes Night, compared to the rest of the year.
“Similarly, for the 1 in 100 people in the UK diagnosed with autism, fireworks can be anything but fun.
“Many of those on the spectrum have to manage anxiety and sensory overload, something which the bright lights and explosive sounds of the fireworks will have a negative effect on.”
The only person to oppose the motion was Conservative Councillor Roger Steele, who represents Clifton North.
He said: “I totally disagree with this motion. It is totally unnecessary and there is no need for quiet fireworks.
“This motion suggests in my view that the nanny state is alive and kicking.
“The word kill-joys comes to mind.”
Because the motion passed, the council will:
Require all public firework displays within the local authority boundaries to be advertised in advance of the event, allowing residents to take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people;
Actively promote a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people – including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks;
Write to the UK Government urging them to introduce legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90dB for those sold to the public for private displays; and
Encourage local suppliers of fireworks to stock ‘quieter’ fireworks for public display.
The motion passed by 53 votes to 1 at a meeting of Nottingham City Council’s full council on Monday, January 11.