Fireworks are NOT Inclusive – and Outdated in a Modern Society

As a society today, versus say 15, 30 or 50 years ago, there is a higher awareness of the need to include different people – and certainly not to exclude them. Companies, universities and organisations have DE&I (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) as key objectives within their cultures – and a lot of time and effort is spent on this. Even wider society is now more acknowledging of differences, that we are none of us the same. There is no ‘normal’, as everyone has a set of different preferences, needs, challenges and illnesses they are living with. These are often unseen.

Many people are adversely affected by fireworks and yet society does not include their needs in the lack of regulation we have around fireworks. I remember a lady who got in touch with us, whose husband is a war veteran. He almost died in combat and she finds it so distressing to see him go clammy and shake when fireworks go off. The sounds, the smells all trigger the distress. A young man who was involved in an explosion at a building. Every time fireworks go off, it reminds him of the blast and triggers the fear, the distress of a former traumatic experience.

The examples are never-ending and on different scales and to different degrees. For those that don’t suffer anxiety but find that when they go off day after day – as they did over Christmas and New Year last year in some areas – that the relentless nature of the bangs starts to become stressful. For pet owners it becomes a dreaded and upsetting event, watching their animals terrified. Frankly something as simple as needing to let them go out and do their business becomes a nightmare as you never know when one will go off, night after night. Trying to work out the best time to do it becomes like navigating a minefield. I know one lady whose dog is so scared she won’t go outside and so does her business inside the house – even for days after fireworks. The distress of the pet is one also passed onto the caring pet owner.

I have met people who are scared of fireworks and won’t go out at night over the winter months in case they go off, others who don’t like the noise. I heard from a mother whose daughter screams and asks for them to stop and can’t sleep because of them. Babies awoken from their sleep. Some people with autism, dementia, hyperacusis, PTSD, people who come to the UK from war zones such as Ukraine as well as those who simply want peace and quiet as they battle with other challenges of life. Why do so many people have to live like this?

What I have heard from people, such as the lady whose husband trembles in fear every time fireworks go off, is that they ‘don’t want to ruin other people’s fun’. I hear it so often. The people who suffer are concerned about those having fun. And yet I don’t hear many of the people ‘having fun’ considering their impact on those who suffer distress. It just seems totally wrong, totally outdated in a society where you can complain if your neighbour makes noise, where there is an appreciation that noise is distressing, that people should consider the needs of neighbours and yet the insane, out-of-date laws around fireworks, don’t include the needs of the so many for whom fireworks are frankly no fun at all. A neighbour having a party affects a few neighbours, the law supports us with that, but fireworks affect hundreds and thousands of people as the thundering bangs carry such a long way.

It’s simply NOT inclusive as a society to expect people as mentioned above to have to suffer, literally suffer, as the result of other people’s actions. Not when there is an easy solution to prevent it. It’s outdated and it belongs to the era of 50 or 100 years ago, not to today.

We have had debates in parliament over and over again. The MPs have put up good arguments that cross the needs of different people, animals and the environment. The government simply does not listen. But in a democratic society, governments do need to listen. They do need to be inclusive and should not allow the rights of a few to disturb the peace and calm of so many around them.

Sadly, it’s the weekend of November 5th and yet fireworks will continue around the country over the coming months. To those who want change we say please keep going. The momentum is there with the signatures and the charities now pushing. 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. 

  • Sign and share petitions. This fireworks petition ends in Dec 2022 and is a recent one, so please sign and share to show support for those in society who have often stayed quiet about their pain
  • 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. Or you can use the RSPCA template
  • Write to your councils asking them to change what they allow. 
  • 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, how even Christmas is no longer a time of peace and why fireworks are a nuisance and the law should change.

At last scientific evidence that fireworks distress wild animals (we knew this all along)

Research by Anglia Ruskin University:

“Fear, including the fear of loud noises, is deeply rooted in the evolutionary history of all animals. Shying away from dangerous situations increases survival. For example, hiding away from loud thunderstorms and running away from the noise of falling rocks might save an animal’s life.

“But there is nowhere to hide from fireworks. What must it be like for the wild animals that delight us on walks and picnics to be confronted with such an inescapable barrage of sound?

Unfortunately, scientists don’t know much about exactly how fireworks impact animals as they’re difficult to observe at night. But what we have learned is alarming. Our recent study, one of the first to study how fireworks affect wildlife, showed how physically distressed animals – in this case geese – were made by New Year’s firework celebrations.”

https://theconversation.com/fireworks-growing-evidence-they-distress-animals-builds-case-to-restrict-use-191472

UN Chief Says We Face Catastrophe if we Don’t Put Climate Change as a Priority – and People Still Set off Fireworks!

According to the BBC this week, “Countries must re-prioritise climate change or the world faces catastrophe, the UN chief has told BBC News.” After a summer of extreme heat, drought and wild-fires in the UK and around the world, it is totally bewildering, that people still let off fireworks in their gardens – when this is a small change people can make, to do their bit for the environment. You can smell the chemicals, the toxins from them – the same day and the day after. The toxins are in our gardens, countryside, they go into the soil, the air and into our streams and lakes.

We wrote a blog all about the chemicals, the waste in fireworks, 3 years ago. “We can either carry on how we are and destroy the planet and cause lots of suffering for humans and animals or we can radically change the way we live – across all areas of life – and have a chance of saving the one planet we all share. Now is our last chance. We referred to an article in BBC Science Focus which says, “Though beautiful, fireworks pollute the atmosphere so may not be the most green choice of entertainment. 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, let’s just stop them! We won’t starve without fireworks. But instead, many people will have more peaceful evenings, animals will be less anxious, the nature around us will have at least one less form of pollutant on it.

We do as a race, need to start living lives that respect nature, live in harmony with other beings on earth with whom we share this planet. In October 2022, Eleven organisations have signed an open letter to the Government asking for a review of fireworks sale and use. These are the BVA, Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Blue Cross, Cats Protection, Children’s Burns Trust, Combat Stress, Dan’s Fund for Burns, Help for Heroes, The Kennel Club and PTSD UK. The letter urges the UK Government to follow in the Scottish Government’s footsteps by committing to a review of the sale and use of fireworks and their impact on animals and people.

It is baffling, that 3 years ago we wrote about the impact on the environment, on animals, and different people. We have had a debate in parliament about it each year – because so many people signed petitions. We have even reached over 1 million signatures in a petition to change fireworks laws and yet the government of the time, refused to listen. It is a small change to make, to simply stop having ad hoc displays. Will the new government finally be the one to listen to the will of the people and care for the future of our planet and our wildlife – and make this change?

To people who want change, we say please keep going. The momentum is there, with the signatures and the charities now pushing. 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. 

  • Sign and share petitions
  • 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. Or you can use the RSPCA template
  • Write to your councils asking them to change what they allow.
  • 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, how even Christmas is no longer a time of peace and why fireworks are a nuisance and the law should change.

Eleven organisations sign open letter to Government

THIS IS MASSIVE

Eleven organisations have signed an open letter to the Government asking for a review of fireworks sale and use. These are the BVA, Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Blue Cross, Cats Protection, Children’s Burns Trust, Combat Stress, Dan’s Fund for Burns, Help for Heroes, The Kennel Club and PTSD UK.

The letter urges the UK Government to follow in the Scottish Government’s footsteps by committing to a review of the sale and use of fireworks and their impact on animals and people.

The text of the open letter reads:

“We are writing on behalf of a number of organisations that work to improve the welfare of both people and animals, to urge your department to undertake a review of fireworks legislation.

“Current easy access to fireworks is a serious concern for animals that suffer from noise fear, as well as vulnerable people such as those that suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, veterans, or children, young people and adults who are at high risk of being burned at private or public displays. In the lead-up to fireworks season and the heightened use of fireworks that occurs as part of this, we are increasingly concerned about the impact of fireworks on these groups.

“Although there have been several Government awareness campaigns around fireworks, there has been no legislative commitment to a review of fireworks and their impact on people and animal welfare.

“You will be aware that, in June of this year, the Scottish Parliament passed the Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Articles (Scotland) Bill. Once the relevant provisions come into force, the Bill will introduce fireworks licensing in Scotland and specifies that fireworks can only be supplied to, and used by, members of the public only on certain dates (around celebration periods). It also grants local authorities the powers to set-up ‘firework control zones’. The Welsh Government has also indicated it is supportive of UK-wide restrictions on fireworks to avoid border crossing purchasing to circumvent devolved legislation.

“We urge your department to follow suit and to look at reviewing where and when fireworks can be used elsewhere in the UK. Currently, too many animals and people are suffering the consequences of insufficient existing legislation. We strongly believe that this must change.

“We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you to discuss our concerns in more detail.”

The RSPCA are also asking for the same thing and requesting people to click on this link to email their MP (the letter is already written for you): https://www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/fireworks

Please also keep the pressure up by signing petitions. This is the current government one https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/616868 and this is our 1,000,000 signature petition which will be handed in to Downing Street when the time is right https://www.change.org/…/officeforsands-review-firework…

The RSPCA are asking the UK Government to follow Scotland’s lead

Please support this action by clicking here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and fill in your details. It will find your MP and you just need to click on “email your MP”

The RSPCA are asking the UK Government to follow Scotland’s lead and introduce legislation for the following:

  • Limit the sale of fireworks for Bonfire Night from 29 October to 5 November and limit the days they can be let off. At present fireworks can be sold from 15 October to 10 November and this can prolong the period when fireworks are let off. The restrictions for the sale of fireworks for other traditional dates are only a few days.
  • Introduce firework control zones to provide better protection to vulnerable people and animals. Such zones are used elsewhere in the world. We feel they could be used effectively to protect animals, in particular in localised areas. An example is no fireworks being allowed near where horses are kept, sensitive wildlife areas, farms or zoos.
  • Introduce a licensing system for the purchase and sale of fireworks by and to members of the public. This would place a sensible limit on access to fireworks. It’ll require those wishing to purchase fireworks to attend a training course, improving safety and awareness of their impact. We’d like to see the impact of fireworks on animals and people form part of any training course.
  • Reduce the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale from 120dB to 90dB. Setting the limit at 90dB would be consistent with the approach in other countries. It’ll encourage manufacturers to design and produce quieter fireworks.

#bangoutoforder

https://www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/fireworks

Scotland leads the way on firework legislation

Scotland leads the way on firework legislation proving that things can change and persistence pays off. This is happening because MPs listened when their constituents contacted them. This can happen in the rest of the UK but your MP needs to hear from you. It’s easy using https://www.writetothem.com. Just tell them your experiences – if you don’t tell them they won’t know 🙂

The Jubilee Concert Set the Example of Alternatives to Fireworks

SKYMAGIC Drone Shows Image

Thank You, Ma’am.

During the Platinum Jubilee concert yesterday, the public was delighted and in awe of the drone display above Buckingham Palace. A little time before this, a moving and inspirational presentation encouraged us all to play our part in saving the planet for nature and future generations. Prince William encouraged us, with a positive and uniting message, that if humans put their mind to it, they can make amazing change happen. And we can. And one way to do that is to limit the use of fireworks, which are toxic and damaging to the environment. At the concert, an alternative was highlighted, with a drone display. Peaceful, and a far more creative and unique display than can be had by fireworks.

The patterns created in the sky were wonderful, on theme with the celebrations and truly unique. There was a pot of tea, a corgi, a stamp with Her Majesty on it and the number 70 floating above Buckingham Palace. Far more personal, respectful to the surrounding areas and relevant than a lot of noise and chemicals from fireworks. And in case you missed it, or want to see them again, here are some videos and images. Truly wonderful.

Over the past years, there have been many petitions signed by over 100,000 people and debates in parliament, asking this government to change the regulations and restrict the regulations. The most recent anti fireworks petition reached over 1 million signatures, but sadly this current government does not listen to the people. We have written many blogs on the impact of fireworks on the environment, how fireworks terrify and hurt wildlife, as well as the detrimental effect on human beings, such as many sufferers of PTSD who are often taken back to their original trauma, when fireworks go off. And as we welcome more refugees from the Ukraine, many of whom have experienced bombardment, we also need to be considerate of how similar and distressing fireworks are for those to whom we offer refuge.

So, Britain and beyond, the Royal Family showed how it’s done. Let’s do the right thing for the environment, for wildlife, pets and many people – and stop the use of fireworks. There are more considerate ways to celebrate.

Image from AOL

To people who want change, we say please keep going. 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. 

  • Sign and share petitions
  • 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, how even Christmas is no longer a time of peace why fireworks are a nuisance and the law should change.

We can all make a difference. Each person continuing to share and spreading the word, writing to their MP, every signature. Every one counts.

One Million People Sign Petition to Change Fireworks Laws

It’s Time for Peace, Quiet & Consideration – and for the Government to Listen

We are delighted to announce that the petition demanding the Government change regulations to restrict the use of fireworks, now has over 1 million signatures! That is a lot of people that, despite the Government repeatedly saying they think the regulations are tight enough, are saying, frankly, NO THEY ARE NOT. People are fighting for Peace Rights! In an era of mass production and easy access to low cost fireworks from China, regulations need to be updated to restrict their usage – which just grows year on year. Being allowed to be set off any day of the year until 11pm and some days until 1am is a breach of the peace, fireworks are a nuisance and they are cruel to animals and humans. Furthermore in a time of climate emergency, fireworks damage the environment. 1 million said it in this petition, plus over 100,000 signed 6 petitions that led to 5 debates in parliament in recent years. And these are just the signatures gained from social media. It doesn’t include the many-fold that are not on social media but who agree with the cause.

A million people are saying that it’s NOT OK for a few people to be able to disturb the peace of many – including pets and wildlife whose hearing is even more sensitive and 50% of whom are caused a lot of distress, anxiety and in some cases, death when fireworks go off. It’s heartbreaking for owners to experience this and the RSPCA has received thousands of reports of fireworks incidents as it calls for changes to be made to reduce the impact on animals. Additionally, the fact that this happens has a substantial impact on their rights – their rights to leave the house after dark and feel happy there won’t be anti-social bangs going off that will cause their pets distress. Most pet owners have to stay in on New Year’s eve, around fireworks – and sadly this period has been extending to include Christmas and the whole season from Christmas to New Year. Their right to walk their dog after dark, which is 4pm onwards in winter months. Many simply can’t go out because fireworks can go off any day of the year. And there is a huge amount of concern around the impact of fireworks on our air and the environment, as chemicals and toxins race into the air. We are all too aware after COP26 of the importance of living in harmony with nature, not against it.

Additionally, many, many people have simply had enough of the on-going, relentless nature of fireworks. People want to be able to feel peace in their home and yet even this has been denied many over Christmas and New Year. The writer of this blog personally logged fireworks for 8 out of 9 days from Christmas Day 2021 onwards and was woken 3 of those nights. Furthermore, many people have anxiety caused by them. 1 in 10 people in the UK develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to PTSD UK. So in a small to medium town of 20,000 people, that is 2,000 people. Each bang can take them back to the trauma they initially experienced and make them anxious and extremely agitated, sometimes reduced to tears. Here is an example from our blog on how fireworks affect sufferers of PTSD where the wife of a war veteran explains how fireworks affect her husband:

“My husband is a war veteran. He served in the Welsh Guards for 22 years and sustained life-changing injuries in the Falklands War. He actually died on the runway at Port Stanley airstrip. He received CPR from a colleague and thankfully he was resuscitated, but because of the lack of oxygen to his brain, he has brain injury and back problems and lost his leg below the knee. Part of his left foot was also blown away. This happened when a harrier jet accidentally fired the sidewinder missiles it was carrying. So as you can imagine, loud bangs affect him. He becomes very agitated and shaking, breaks out in a cold clammy sweat and is reduced to tears. It’s pitiful to see a grown strong man reduced to tears due to the noise of fireworks. We put the television on very loud, but I can see by his face it really gets to him. When these fireworks are going off all the time, it is terrible to watch him. I really think they should be banned on the street and only used in an organised event.”

Some people have hyperacusis and loud sounds such as fireworks are actually painful for them. Some people with dementia suffer confusion at the sounds. And too many emergency services staff know the accidents that happen and the increased demand on them due to fireworks – as well as the anti-social use of fireworks being used as weapons, put through letterboxes and pointed at police and others.

So, we say to the Government, listen to the people. Respect them. They are not stupid. They know you give the same answers every year and aren’t taking them seriously. And it will impact their decisions of how they view you and vote for you. This is a democracy and far more laws have been passed to protect far smaller numbers than 1 million. And they won’t go away. The situation worsens every year. And as was clear in the debate in parliament in November 2021 many, many people wrote to their MPs explaining why they wanted change – from people whose babies were woken and scared, to people having had them put through their letter boxes, to others with pets who are scared or wounded, to others suffering from PTSD and very distressed each time one goes off.

To people who want change, we say 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.

  • Sign and share petitions
  • 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, how even Christmas is no longer a time of peace why fireworks are a nuisance and the law should change.

We can all make a difference. Each person continuing to share and spreading the word, writing to their MP, every signature. Every one counts. DON’T GIVE UP.

1 MILLION SIGNATURES

Whoo hoooo!! We have reached 1 million signatures on our petition. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO SIGNED AND SHARED. The petition will still accept signatures so please continue the good work. The more the better, in this case. I will now apply for an appointment to hand it in at NO 10. Watch this space for photos.

https://www.change.org/p/officeforsands-review-firework-rules-to-protect-animals-from-injury-and-distress

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