Firework ban could be heard at next full council meeting

Date published: 17 November 2018

Councillor Rina Paolucci-Escobar is planning to a motion proposing the banning of fireworks to the public before the next full council meeting on 12 December.

Currently, anyone over the age of 18 can purchase fireworks to put on their own display from home.

However, there have been growing concerns with many calling for the pyrotechnics to be banned from general sale. Reasons cited include safety, and also noise, which may affect vulnerable children and adults or pets and wildlife.


Councillor Rina Paolucci-Escobar hopes to bring the motion before full council
Councillor Rina Paolucci-Escobar plans to bring the motion before full council


Councillor Paolucci-Escobar said: “Every year we have issues with people buying bangers for the sole aim of throwing.

“Year on year, pop-up shops appear selling cheap, unlicensed and unregulated fireworks. These are dangerous and put the public, who buy these innocently, at serious risk.

“Fireworks cause undue distress and upset to animals, the elderly and vulnerable people and continue to be used well before and after bonfire night.

“I want to encourage all our residents to be mindful of the harm they can cause and only attend organised events.”

Councillor Paolucci-Escobar’s announcement comes just days after fellow councillor Peter Malcolm called for Rochdale Borough Council to ban the sale of fireworks to the general public, saving them for licensed displays only.

A former firefighter, Councillor Malcolm said: “As a retired Fire Service Officer, this time of year always brings back to me the suffering of adults and children I witnessed, caused by accidental or deliberate misuse of fireworks.”


Peter Malcolm, when he was a Fire Service Officer
Peter Malcolm, when he was a Fire Service Officer


Bonfire weekend is the busiest period of the year for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, with calls peaking at one every minute: the majority of the calls received this year were accidental fires, as stray rockets veered onto an unplanned route, or bonfires built slightly too high.

One local resident, Edna Lockett, agrees with the proposals, and says fireworks should be banned in the interest of safety.

She said: “I agree with Councillor Malcolm calling for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the general public and applaud him for taking a stand on safety.

“I remember as a child every year looking forward to Bonfire Night, collecting firewood for our local bonfire and going door to door asking for a ‘penny for the guy.’ The pennies we collected helped buy our fireworks.

“Once the wood was lit, our parents set off the fireworks and we ate black peas and baked potatoes and treacle cake. The fireworks were contained at the area we had the fire.

“Today, with this generation, young people and some adults do not have any remorse of any injuries they cause to people and pets.”

Additionally, fireworks can also prove as a trigger for those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), such as war veterans.

PTSD is a mental disorder than can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as warfare. Sufferers may relive the trauma with vivid flashbacks and intrusive thoughts and images, nightmares, intense distress and also experience physical symptoms, such as pain, trembling, sweating and nausea.

It may also be referred to as shell shock, combat stress or battle fatigue.


Shoulder to Soldier aims to raise awareness of PTSD and fireworks
Shoulder to Soldier aims to raise awareness of PTSD and fireworks


Campaigns such as Shoulder to Soldier aim to raise awareness of the debilitating condition and how it can be triggered by fireworks, which are limited to a cap of 120 decibels in England, the same as the pain threshold listed by the World Health Organisation.

According to the Daily Record, one town in Italy has introduced ‘silent’ fireworks following 2015 legislation banning traditional fireworks from displays.

Allegedly, silent fireworks dampen the noise associated with traditional fireworks, so whilst not totally noise-free, will still result in less stress for those likely to become stressed or anxious from such noises.

A national petition calling for the explosives to be limited only to organised displays has gathered over 287,000 signatures and will be debated in Parliament as a result.

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