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Thanet District Council approves motion to use 'quieter' fireworks for big public displays

Councillors have approved a motion for 'quieter' fireworks to be used for public displays to help protect animals and vulnerable people.

Animal charity the RSPCA has been pushing for local authorities to bring in changes and Thanet District Council is the latest to agree to tighter controls.

Quieter fireworks will be encouraged under the tougher rules
Quieter fireworks will be encouraged under the tougher rules

It will mean encouraging suppliers to stock ‘quieter’ fireworks for big public displays across the district.

The council will also promote a public awareness campaign about the impact on animal welfare and vulnerable people, and introduce tougher restrictions on the use of fireworks.

All public displays will have to be advertised well in advance allowing pet owners time to take precautions.

Cllr Candy Gregory, who brought a Motion on Notice to full council on Thursday, says the authority will also be able to lobby the government to bring in tougher rules.

Cllr Helen Whitehead, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing and communities, said while fireworks bring much enjoyment, they can cause significant problems and fear for other people and animals.

"The RSPCA is rightly concerned about fear caused to animals by the sudden and unpredictable loud and high intensity noises, the debris produced which poses a hazard to all wildlife and wild stock, and that the current regulations are difficult to enforce due to the limited duration of fireworks," she said.

Cllr Helen Whitehead
Cllr Helen Whitehead

"Thanet District Council already encourages all fireworks displays held on our land to be widely advertised and displays are for the public rather than private events such as weddings.

"We are happy to support the aims of the RSPCA and the greater community aims of reducing stress to the public and can help in terms of advertisements and the conditions of displays held on our land."

The motion was supported by almost all councillors, but with some warning the measures do not go far enough.

Cllr Peter Campbell said: "There is an inherent weakness that it is only public displays that are mentioned.

"I have three dogs and one is scared witless when there is private use and indiscriminate use of fireworks, which I believe the fire brigade are most concerned about, particularly about the danger caused by these uncontrolled private displays."

'The exclusion of private residential displays needs to be looked at' - Cllr Ash Ashbee

Cllr Ash Ashbee agreed that the motion doesn't go far enough.

"The exclusion of private residential displays needs to be looked at," she said.

"I think that's more of a nuisance than public displays.

"It's not only animals, I've had various elderly residents saying how distressing they find that time of year.

"I think it should go further than just restricted use. I think there should be time periods when you can be allowed or not.

"Can we take it another step and toughen it up a bit?"

But Cllr Reece Pugh, who also supported the motion, says enforcement would be hard.

"If there is a review, restrictions or a ban, the problem is how that will be enforced, particularly considering the financial constraints the council is under at the moment."

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