Sedgemoor District Council is calling on the government to reduce the maximum noise level of fireworks sold to the public.

The authority is to lobby for new laws limiting the noise of all fireworks except in licensed displays.

It is also urging shops to stock less noisy fireworks and residents to use fireworks quieter than 97 decibels.

During a meeting this week, Cllr Hilary Bruce said: “Nobody wants to take them [fireworks] away but it’s possible to use them considerately.”

Under the Firework Regulations 2004, fireworks cannot be set off at any time between  11pm and 7am all year round, except on Bonfire Night when the curfew starts at midnight and on New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali – when it starts at 1am.

Last November, nearly 100 local people signed a petition calling on Sedgemoor District Council to limit the number of nights fireworks could be let off and ban their sales for home use.

In response, the council has drafted a new policy which, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), is a guide rather than a legally binding document and cannot be enforced by either the police or council officers.

“What we were looking to do with this policy was to encourage people to use fireworks in a responsible and considerate ways, taking into account the effect they can have on animals and vulnerable people,” said Ms Bruce.

“It aims to encourage residents to attend organised displays rather than hold private displays and to give at least seven days advanced notice of displays.”

Animal charity the RSPCA claims around 62 per cent of dogs show “signs of distress” as a result of fireworks, along with 54 per cent of cats and 55 per cent of horses.

The British Horse Society has also reported 20 deaths, 10 severe injuries and 88 mild to moderate injuries to horses involving fireworks since 2010.

Rose Stokes, the council’s communities officer, said its policy was intended to limit the impact of residential displays rather than prevent the public enjoying larger licensed events.

“The organised events are encouraged to advertise in advance to allow time for actions or precautions to be taken where possible for animals and vulnerable people,” she said. “It was felt that if more attend public displays, it limits the overall impact of fireworks.”

 

 
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