Town councillors in Burnham-On-Sea have this week considered holding a drones lights show and using silent fireworks for this year’s seafront display to make it more environmentally friendly.
The annual display is held on the evening before Burnham-On-Sea Carnival and always attracts large crowds to the seafront. It is scheduled to take place on Sunday November 5th this year.
During a meeting of the Town Council’s Town Improvements Committee on Monday (February 6th), Cllr Barabara Vickers said she had investigated whether using high-tech drones instead of fireworks is an affordable ‘green’ alternative. Drone shows were used at Weston besides the ‘Seemonster’ platform last autumn, pictured below.
She said: “Weston put on some amazing drones light displays last year using around 100 drones. The cost for 20 drones is approximately £9,000 for 20 minutes.”
“The high cost was no problem for Weston because they have a £2 million budget for events and projects. I am not convinced that it’s necessarily right for this council to do.”
Cllr Mike Murphy responded: “I think we have generally come to the conclusion that the fireworks will remain in the current format for a 20-minute display.”
Cllr Andy Morgan said he feels the fireworks display is not a popular use of council funds, adding: “Lots say they feel it is a waste of council money, especially during a cost-of-living crisis.”
The Town Clerk added that the Town Council has a three-year contract in place with the current organiser, Skyburst, to provide the shows at a budget of £7,000 which could be extended by a further year.
Cllr Vickers added that the single seafront display is a safe way for families to watch fireworks rather than letting them off themselves at mutiple private displays, and she added: “We do thank all those who have offset their carbon footprint.”
Cllr Ganesh Gudka also added that the seafront display raises a large sum for local charities each year.
Cllr Peter Clayton added: “I’m all in favour of extending for another year and looking at other bidders in the future.”
Committee chairman Cllr Mike Murphy went on to ask councillors: “One posible change – should we have ‘silent bangers’ that don’t upset animals?” Cllr Catherine Searing responded: “I would agree with that. As a dog owner and someone who has lots of residents with dog owners near me, they all say the same thing.”
After further debate, councillors voted in favour of extending the existing fireworks contract for a further year and look at drawing up a new specification for a future new contract that could include the use of silent fireworks and drones.