Sudden EU law change could leave popular firework firm facing closureBy Becky Barnes
February 21, 2013
An award-winning fireworks firm could go bust if new European laws forcing bosses to throw away ‘old’ stock are enforced.
The change means Star Fireworks, in Bullbrook Row, faces having to dispose of fireworks worth up to £200,000, which are now deemed illegal because they don’t have a CE mark.
Owner Andy Hubble, who provides firework displays for Big Brother and The X Factor, said the whole industry is under threat because the Government changed guidance the day after Bonfire Night last year.
Laws introduced in August 2010 gave companies until July 2017 to sell old British Standard stock, but the change on November 6 means fireworks can now only be sold if they have been made or placed on the market before July 2010.
Andy said: “It is absolute nonsense. How can you tell an industry you have until 2017 to do this then say no, actually we have changed our mind without consultation?
“There is nothing wrong with British Standard, this is procedural nonsense at the expense of British businesses.
“It seems someone with no understanding of the industry assumed all fireworks would be sold but after Guy Fawkes Night, but companies always carry stock.
“This is the worst thing possible for the fireworks industry, especially as it is facing difficult times with the recession.
“It could shut us down.”
Bracknell MP Dr Phillip Lee visited Andy and co-owner Sean Durcan at Star Fireworks on Friday, February 8, and is appealing to Jo Swinson, the minister responsible, to make sure the regulations are not enforced.
Dr Lee said: “If this regulation were to be implemented, Guy Fawkes this year may be without fireworks.
“I will continue to strongly lobby the minister on behalf of the local fireworks industry in Bracknell.
“I want to make sure our local business that has been based in Bracknell since 1971 remains open.
“The implementation of this regulation could be disastrous.”
Andy, 39, wants the Government to tackle the issue as a matter of urgency as he is visiting China on Monday to buy fireworks, but may not be able to place orders.
He said: “All the UK industry needs to place orders or it will go bust, but I will be unable to place orders as there are no CE marked fireworks available.
“The laboratories in China have a big backlog because this has been done across the whole of Europe.
“I have been running this business for 11 years and owned it for the last two and this is probably the worst thing which could happen, particularly after making massive investments in the company when we bought it.
“The frustrating thing is there is absolutely nothing wrong with this stock.”