One of our members penned this recently having witnessed birds blind-panicked by fireworks at midnight New Year’s Eve whilst babysitting her rescue horses …..
Twas a cold Christmas Day night in 2021. They walked home after a peaceful day of eating and merriment with loved ones after a hard global pandemic which had cancelled the Christmas before. As they walked past the softly lit windows they saw people resting at the end of their busy day after the babies and smaller children had been put to bed. Now was their time to relax. The people walking said to themselves “Ah ’tis the season of peace and goodwill.” Then BANG. Out of nowhere, across all the houses, horrendous noise and flashes of light assaulted them. The dog nearly pulled them over. Children and babies were shaken from their sleep. Dogs started to bark from fear. War veterans who were enjoying the calm were reminded of their trauma. People with sensitive hearing clutched their ears to deaden the sound. More went off later and woke them from their sleep. Then it all happened over again on Boxing Day and 5 days in a row afterwards. It breached their peace and their right to peace; their right to walk with the dog after dark; their right to sleep without disturbance. It ruined their tranquil day and they began to dread the season next year. But alas, the Government which calls itself a democracy, resolutely refused to listen to the will of the people who peacefully signed 6 petitions that went over 100,000 signatures and one that reached nearly a million. Refused to listen to the sensible debate of MPs in parliament on the topic 6 times. It preferred instead to allow people to breach the peace by letting off loud fireworks that impact thousands in the miles around them instead of allowing these people their peace. They exercised their democratic right to ask for their peace and their right to peace. Just as have so many before them and laws have been made that accommodated them.
Summary for those who don’t read all (but please do as it’s good!): The tradition for fireworks is NOT Christmas. It is NOT actually New Year. It was the 5th November. One day. There are laws to protect others from ‘Breaching the Peace’, such as a neighbour playing loud music that disturbs others and yet fireworks are not included in those or limited in any way. Enough is enough. Take action with the list below to make a difference.
When you raise the topic of fireworks to some councillors and MPs many will answer “It’s our tradition and we don’t want to change it.” It is a tradition on 5th November. Full stop. Finnito. End of. Guy Fawkes. Because of the bang of the gunpowder. It is not a tradition any other night of the year in the UK – Christmas Day, Boxing Day, American Independence Day or every other public holiday around the world. It’s one night – the 5th November. New Year fireworks only started at the millennium but now none of us can go to bed before 1am if we don’t want to celebrate new year or have had a hard year and are not in the mood.
It is a breach of the peace and fireworks are a nuisance and it goes against our rights to do things as we would want to – every day of the year. Why are a few people allowed to do things that impact hundreds of people for miles around them, when laws protect people breaching the peace in much closer surroundings – such as next door? Why can you have the police round for breaching the peace if you play loud music or even if your dog barks and either scenario disturbs a few neighbours – and yet you can let off fireworks that are 120 decibels or more and that breach neighbours’ peace for miles around and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it? One does have to ask oneself where the logic is in this. And I hate to say it but why is the Government absolutely refusing to move on it? It really does beg the question of what they gain from fireworks.
Another argument one hears from the party of the Government, as they copy and paste their response to you, is that they don’t want to restrict people’s liberties. Our liberties are constantly restricted for the benefit of a few. Smoking in pubs to protect people working in bars; fox hunting laws to protect a few foxes – when many, many more animals are impacted by fireworks. Dog owners have to pick up after them to protect other people from their mess. We need laws in place to protect the rights of others. Currently one person’s right to let off a firework in their garden, any day of the year, infringes on the rights of those that don’t want to hear them on any day. Who want to do ordinary things such as sit at home without bangs going off, walk in the dark or sleep undisturbed. Who even would like to go out on new year’s eve, but can’t because their pets will be terrified by the fireworks. The rights of minorities as well as majorities always have to be considered. Nearly a million people signed one of the latest petitions to restrict firework usage. In a population of around 62 million, that is not even a minority, but even if it were, laws have been passed to protect far smaller groups impacted by others’ behaviour.
So why is this government not listening? Are you fed up of your right to peace not being protected? If so, the only way to change things is to take action, demand a change in the law and help educate others on the impact of fireworks on others. Legal changes could restrict the number of days a year that fireworks are allowed to go off; stop the sale to the public and limit to public displays only; reduce the decibels of those let off on the few days they should be allowed. There needs to be some limit rather than being able to go off 365 days a year until 11pm or 1am on some days. It’s simply against our right to peace. And is highly stressful in different ways for different people and animals.
Don’t give up. The suffragettes fought for years/decades for change. Keep signing and sharing petitions, write to your MP, write to your local council, share blogs like these so that more people know others share their views. Writing now is important as a private member’s bill is being brought forward on the topic in January. It may not go far enough, but MPs knowing what changes you want, will help them know how to act in relation to it.
- Sign and share the petition to get it over 1 million signatures
- Share this blog in every group you are in on social media and in emails – particularly those not related to fireworks, to reach new audiences
- There have been 5 debates, 6 petitions with over 100,000 signatures each, a Petitions Committee inquiry and the Government needs to listen. Now is the time to write to your MP and ask them to push the Government to take drastic action. Reduce the number of days to just a handful a year and ban the sale to the public.
- Write to your councils asking them to change what they allow. You can use the RSPCA template
- Ask your friends and neighbours not to let fireworks off or if they insist to at least use low noise fireworks which are available from most firework suppliers
- Read more blogs on the impact of fireworks and share these too: Environmental impact, impact on war veterans and sufferers of PTSD and on assistance dogs, why fireworks are a nuisance and the law should change.
We can all make a difference. Each person sharing and spreading the word, writing to their MP, every signature. Every one counts. And don’t give up.
To anyone who is adversely affected by fireworks, for whatever reason, don’t feel you are alone. A minimum of nearly a million people in the UK are in agreement with you (and that’s only the people who received the petition to sign). And many, many more. You are not being a killjoy to want your right to peace and rest in a world that is busy and often harsh.
WHY? This is important as ministers want facts and figures and they get these from incidents reported to the police, the RSPCA and BHS. Please don’t tell us “there’s no point” or “they won’t do anything”. If you don’t report the issue then as far as the authorities are concerned it didn’t happen.
Please report ALL illegal fireworks to the police https://fireworkcampaign.com/the-law/
More than 50% of police forces now have an easy way to report illegal firework use online. You can check if your force is one of them here https://fireworkcampaign.com/the-law/
Other forces need to be contacted by phone on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Insist that your report is logged.
Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/
Please report ALL problems regarding animals to the RSPCA https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TKWMJJC or on 0300 1234 999
and ALL problems regarding horses to BHS via their website or https://www.bhs.org.uk/our-work/safety/report-an-incident/report-an-incident or their app – Horse i
All the information you need is here https://fireworkcampaign.com/the-law/
Jacob Rees-Mogg says “Fireworks are a little bit of harmless fun” https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/…/19687289.they…/. Apparently he has no idea of what distress and trauma they cause. But we do. That’s why we’ve been campaigning for a change in firework law since 2013.
You can help:
1. EMAIL YOUR MP – do this now on https://www.writetothem.com/. Mark it URGENT. Tell them how fireworks affect you and ask them to attend Monday’s debate on your behalf.
2. SIGN petitions. Click here to see current petitions
3. REPORT. Please report ALL problems with fireworks affecting animals on the RSPCA log https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TKWMJJC
Please report ALL illegal fireworks to the police. Click here for how to report
This week has been a week when the future of humanity, wildlife and our planet has been discussed in relation to climate change – at the COP26 conference. Much has been said about the need to live together with our planet, not against it. In harmony with nature, not inconsiderate of it. And next Mon, 8th November 2021 – following yet another petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures by the public asking to amend the legislation around fireworks – the topic will be debated in parliament. But will government listen, or will they try for a 5th debate on the topic and after 6 petitions, each with over 100,000 signatures, to ignore the will of the people?
For those that won’t read the rest, the summary:
Fireworks release chemicals into the atmosphere. These fall into rivers, onto trees and the sounds scare and sometimes kill wildlife. We are talking about the future of our planet and we are still obsessed with ‘having a bit of fun’ at nature’s expense? Not only is the environment and wildlife impacted, but pets, people with PTSD, dementia, hyperacusis and plenty more people, including those who are fed up of hearing bangs from nowhere in the middle of a quiet night. They are also dangerous and can be used as weapons. They are outdated and their use should be restricted, as they are in many other countries. Write to your MP to make change happen. For those that will read the rest, read on.
We have written many blogs on the impacts to so many different aspects of our world – to the environment, to wildlife, to pets, to humans. Fireworks are outdated and a nuisance. And it’s time to limit the use of them. In our blog on the environmental impact of fireworks, we commented, “An article in BBC Science Focus says, “Though beautiful, fireworks pollute the atmosphere so may not be the most green choice of entertainment.” The article states, “Fireworks propel a cocktail of chemicals into the atmosphere, many of which can harm both people and the environment. The vivid colours in firework displays come from metallic compounds such as barium or aluminium that can have negative impacts on animal and human health.” So they impact not only the environment, but also wildlife and us. Isn’t it time to simply stop them or at least severely restrict them? There are plenty of other ways to enjoy oneself and in the UK particularly, it has become the norm that for any little celebration, people let these toxic chemicals off into the atmosphere – disturbing the local environment and its inhabitants – and to scare many with the noise. Countries like the Netherlands and Germany allow them on only one or two days of the year. Yet in the UK we allow them every day of the year. That’s not awfully globally considerate when tackling climate change. We should restrict the number of days allowed, along with who can access them.
We have also talked about the impact to wildlife in a blog, “Birds Die, Horses Panic, Wildlife Suffers. Humans Setting off Fireworks Terrify and Kill”. You can read the details and the background to the points, but in summary, “Thousands of birds have died from heart attacks or through panic and flying into things, when fireworks go off. Horses have bolted, some impaled. Hedgehogs been tied to fireworks and shot into the air. We are in a climate emergency where we have already lost 60% of the UK’s wildlife population. It’s not only humans on this planet.” You can take action – write to your MP and town councillors, tell people not to use them, sign every petition.
There is plenty of detail on the impact of fireworks to all these groups in our blogs. Fireworks are a nuisance and outdated. They are toxic and chemical based and do not act in harmony with our planet. They are harmful to wildlife, who we need to protect. They can scare and even kill pets, much to the distress of their owners and affecting their lives as they often need to stay in to support their pets. Furthermore, they wake and scare humans – particularly those with PTSD, dementia, hyperacusis, anxiety and more. We have heard from many veterans with PTSD, who may tremble, hide under a table and go into cold sweats, because the firework sounds and colours trigger their trauma and take them back to a terrible place. We honour them on the 11th November, just 6 days after fireworks night – when we thank them by bombarding with noises that make them suffer. What kind of society thinks that is OK? That the ‘fun’ of a few is acceptable while so many suffer – be that humans, animals or the planet?
If you agree, now is the time to take action. You need to write to your MP and tell them. Ask them to attend the fireworks debate on Mon 8th November 2021. Tell them your views and ask them, regardless of their own personal views, to reflect those. And to find a way to change the regulations around fireworks. Enough is enough. We need to live together with our planet, to save it – not constantly bombarding it with pointless chemicals and noise. It’s easy at http://www.writetothem.com Just enter your postcode, select your MP and write. We need as many people as possible to do this.
And please share this blog and ask others to do the same. We need your momentum as this may be the last chance for change.
OK humans. Want to be responsible for this planet? What can you do?
- Share this blog in every group you are in on social media and in emails – particularly those not related to fireworks, to reach new audiences
- There have been 5 debates, 6 petitions with over 100,000 signatures each, a Petitions Committee inquiry and the government needs to listen. Now is the time to write to your MP and ask them to push the government to take drastic action. Reduce the number of days to just a handful a year and ban the sale to the public.
- Write to your councils asking them to change what they allow. As you can see in Bideford, they can do this. Push. You can use the RSPCA template to ask them to change which are allowed
- Ask your friends and neighbours not to let them off or if they insist, to at least use those with lower bang ratings – which are available among most fireworks sellers and those that do displays
- Read more blogs on the impacts of fireworks and share these too: Environmental impact, impact on war veterans and sufferers of PTSD and on assistance dogs, why fireworks are a nuisance and the law should change.
STOP PRESS: The RSPCA reporting log has gone live. Please use it to report any problems you have with fireworks/animals.
The government need facts and figures before they take any action. Up to now there have been no official figures because no one is collecting and collating the information. This is an official RSPCA initiative to provide government with the information they need.
PLEASE USE IT
Although it may look like a one off survey it can be completed as many times as you need.
We understand that you may want to check it is bona fide before completing so you can find it on the RSPCA website.
From their main page https://www.rspca.org.uk/ go to the menu and select:
- Get Involved
Scroll down the page until you see the green box with “share your story”
Click on the “share your fireworks story” button to begin.
You can see the RSPCA privacy notice at the bottom of their page.
Our 2020 petition to Limit the Sale and Use of Fireworks to Organisers of Licensed Displays Only is due to be debated this autumn. We have therefore decided not to write a new government petition this year. There are however, as always, other petitions running and we recommend that you sign them all. We have listed them for you on our website: https://fireworkabatement.wordpress.com/petitions-2/
The Scottish Government have launched a new consultation into the sale and use of fireworks. If you live in Scotland this is your chance to have your say. Scroll down the page to the box “have your say” and click on “begin consultation”.
The consultation closes on 15 August 2021.
All incidents involving horses INCLUDING FIREWORKS, can now be reported quickly and easily using the BHS app – Horse i. You will receive a confirmation email with a case number for every report.
APP Store LINK
Google Play LINK
The BHS launches a new app that enables equestrians to report their incidents
The British Horse Society has released a new app that enables equestrians to quickly and easily submit details of incidents that have negatively affected their safety.
The free of charge new app, ‘Horse i’, has been specifically designed to empower equestrians to immediately report any incidents they encounter directly to the BHS via a simple, easy-to-use interface.
DOWNLOAD OUR NEW APP – HORSE i
What is an incident?
An incident is classed as an unplanned event that has resulted in a human or horse feeling unsafe (e.g. road rage), or that has the potential to cause injury (a near miss), or that has already caused injury. Equestrians can report problems with:
- a road/off-road user
- slippery road surfaces
- low flying aircraft or nuisance drones
Reporting your incident
The app records details of the incident, including the location, date and time, any injuries sustained, vet treatment required, as well as if any other agencies are involved, such as the Police or Civil Aviation Authority. An incident report can be submitted via the time-saving new tool in less than three minutes, although there is also the facility for the user to take the time to add in any supporting detail if they wish.
The BHS hope that the app will equip and encourage many more equestrians to report incidents to the BHS, enabling the charity to use the data to support its campaigns to improve equestrian safety.
BHS Director of Safety Alan Hiscox says: “We know that only 1 in 10 people report incidents to us which is why we have produced this simple-to-use app, which enable equestrians to report any incident that encounter. Most people want to report an incident to the BHS as soon as it happens, so this app makes it much easier to log what’s happened to you and your horse the moment you return to the yard when the detail is still fresh in your mind. Increasing the number of incidents that are logged with the BHS is a key priority for us in order to create a safer environment for equestrians, as we can act more effectively with better data.”