Shropshire Council to lobby government over noisy firework displays while promoting 'silent' events

Shropshire Council will lobby central government for tighter restrictions on holding firework displays, while promoting 'silent' events throughout the county.

The authority's Place Overview Committee made the decision after reviewing a report from trading standards and regulatory services at a meeting on Thursday.

The report, which summarised efforts to promote quieter fireworks and silent displays, focused on ways to reduce the impact of the popular celebratory pyrotechnics on vulnerable people and animals.

It noted that although recent public Guy Fawkes' Night, New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali displays were cancelled due to the Covid pandemic, known future events will be recorded on a register and heavily publicised to warn those it may impact.

Councillor Paul Milner, who represents Oswestry South on Shropshire Council, suggested that young people between the ages of 17 and 25 were largely to blame for "prolonged" firework displays, and questioned whether shops were carrying out responsible sales.

Frances Darling, head of trading standards and licensing, said test purchasing exercises found little to no unlawful sales in recent years.

She said: "We conclude our retailers are doing a very good job. It's not a case of young people going in and purchasing [fireworks] from the stores themselves."

Councillor Simon Jones, representing Shawbury, raised concern about the influx of weddings and similar events using fireworks soon to be taking place once Covid restrictions allow.

Difficult

Ms Darling said: "Anything before 11pm that can satisfy the statutory test becomes very difficult to control. It's about a responsible approach that businesses can take to engage with neighbours."

The committee said emphasis should be put on publicising events and promoting silent displays.

Councillor Milner said easier methods of reporting nuisance fireworks should be created so people feel like "they're being watched".

Chairman of the meeting, Councillor Joyce Barrow, representing St Oswald, said noise was the largest problem and asked whether rules could be made across the county to "ensure fireworks do not have any sound".

Ms Darling responded: "We can do it on council land but the issue is not about the use of our land, it's people on their own land.

"The council has no say at all in terms of the conditions upon which they can be used and they're bound by the law of the land."

The council concluded it has "limited" powers in many aspects of controlling firework displays, and opted to lobby central government for tighter regulations – particularly around the noise of fireworks – while working to better inform residents about any upcoming displays.

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