I can appreciate how distressing fireworks can be for pets. Fireworks displays run by local charities and organisations can provide a safe and organised way for people to enjoy fireworks, while promoting community cohesion and raising funds for local causes. However, I believe it is important to look at how we can better protect animals from the misuse of fireworks, and the stress and anxiety it can cause them.
I have asked the government specifically about the issue of fireworks and pets (see here).
Since January 2005, the sale of fireworks to the public has been prohibited, except for from licensed traders. However, fireworks can be sold by unlicensed traders for Chinese New Year, Diwali, Bonfire Night celebrations and new year. On the use of fireworks, under the Fireworks Regulations 2004, it is an offence to use fireworks after 11pm and before 7am without permission, except on permitted fireworks nights, when the times are extended. The regulations also allow fireworks use by local authority employees to put on displays permitted by the local authority, or for a national public celebration.
Given the age of our current fireworks regulations, I believe the Government should look at them to determine the changing impact of fireworks and whether any changes are needed. It needs, for example, to address the growing calls for fireworks use to be permitted only at certain times of year, as well as to look at what can be done to bring the current decibel level cap down.
However, unless these laws are enforced, they are largely meaningless. I am concerned that a decade of cuts to local authorities, including for example to their trading standards and environmental health teams, has left them without the resources to tackle rogue traders or those breaking the rules. If the Government is serious about protecting the public, animals and the environment from the negative aspects of fireworks, I believe we need to see investment that allows for a proper enforcement of existing legislation.