Upcoming Shropshire firework displays to be listed online

Upcoming firework displays will be listed online to warn vulnerable people and pet-owners about likely noise and flashes, a report says.

Shropshire Council voted to establish a list, along with other measures aimed at promoting responsible events, more than a year ago.

In a report due to go before councillors next week, trading standards and regulatory services bosses note that recent Guy Fawkes’ Night, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali displays were cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown, but says a register of known events will be kept and publicised post-Covid.

The Place Overview Committee will discuss the report – which also summarises efforts to promote quieter fireworks and “silent displays” – on Thursday, April 8.

Karen Collier, head of regulatory services and Frances Darling, head of trading standards and licensing write that, at a full session in December 2019, Shropshire councillors passed a resolution “encouraging all public fireworks displays within Shropshire to be appropriately advertised in advance” and asking the authority to compile and display a list on its website and social media accounts “to enable residents to take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people”.

They note that the council’s Public Events Safety Group Guidance was amended to higlight the issue.

“The second Covid-19 ‘lockdown’ resulted in the cancellation of all public fireworks displays in 2020,” Ms Collier and Ms Darling write.

“It is anticipated that the principles that have driven the Covid-19 event management process are likely to continue post-Covid and will provide a greater degree of engagement with event organisers, including those who organise public firework displays.

Resolution

“This will give further opportunities to advance the firework safety advice in the future.

“When public fireworks events are more likely to take place in normal circumstances, a list of events will be published.”

The 2019 resolution also asked the council to “actively promote a public awareness campaign about the impacts of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people”.

Ms Collier and Ms Darling write council web pages about the sale and storage of fireworks include a link to a Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service safety campaign.

Members also requested encouraging “the use of silent displays with music for the youngest children” and the sale of “quieter fireworks”.

The report authors say silent displays are suggested by the Safety Advisory Group guidance, and council licensing pages urge sellers to stock quieter or silent products.

The resolution also asked the council to lobby the government “to limit the maximum noise levels of fireworks to 90 decibels for those sold to the public for private displays”.

Ms Collier and Ms Darling write that Councillor Gwilym Butler – the cabinet member responsible for regulatory services – “accepts that there remains value in making representations with respect to the maximum noise level of fireworks” but has not done so yet.

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