What Bracknell Thinks: Stricter Firework LawsBy Becky Barnes
November 21, 2012
This week we asked what our panel thought about stricter firework laws after a stray rocket almost torched a family’s house during this year’s celebrations.
Jonathan Greenyer, an artist and author from Winkfield: “All fireworks displays should be licensed and regulated through the council with a Temporary Events Notice with a requirement for organisers to comply with safety arrangements for those involved, the spectators and also the surrounding areas.
“As alcohol and fireworks often go hand in hand at private functions it is reckless to let what is in effect ‘dangerous ordinance’ or ‘explosives’ be used in an unregulated manner. Today’s big composite fireworks, lit from one fuse and lasting for minutes, are a real safety hazard if not used responsibly.”
Darren Bridgman, Bracknell blogger: “I’m in two minds about this one. As a liberal I would say keep the fireworks.
“But as a dad I would say let’s have much tighter laws. I guess the compromise would be to raise the age for which you can buy them.
“Perhaps some handy advice is to ask your neighbours, first bearing in mind some have pets and young children.”
Jo Ilott, from Crowthorne: “I don’t think fireworks will ever be controlled in the way they need to be. Maybe the age limit for buying fireworks should be raised to 25 like it is for alcohol etc, this may stop the younger adults/children getting hold of them and causing mayhem and dangerous situations.
“I think there should be a limit to the size of firework available on general sale, all ‘monster’ rockets and ‘big-show’ fireworks should only be available to professionals for shows like Wellington College’s show, which was amazing and brilliant to watch.
“Like all things, there will always be a way for people to get hold of fireworks if they really want to.”
Janet Curley Cannon, artist at Gallery@49: “I am often amazed at just how many fireworks are set off from people’s gardens in quite dense housing areas, this year was no exception despite the recession.
“More organised large displays at central, wide open areas would be much better and safer.”
Peter Smith, of The Better Business Alliance: “Because a mum is calling for stricter fireworks laws due to a firework almost torching her house is not alone a good reason for changing the law.
“However, if we look at the total of all incidents involving fireworks every year and particularly the number of people injured due to fireworks, then there may be a case for changing the law.
“Introducing new laws influences behaviour but does not necessarily solve the problem it is designed to solve. In this case the logical consequence of reducing risk to zero would be to ban fireworks – organised or unorganised.
“Risk is a part of life and every time we remove a risk we need to balance this with the amount of pleasure removed from society.
“Perhaps we should sometimes think about a quotation I came across whilst researching health and safety issues many years ago: ‘Life at its best is taking risks for things that are worthwhile.’
“Where does the balance of risk and pleasure derived lie in this particular case?”