A Welcome Tory U-Turn



by Editor // in Council


Lib Dem Councillors, James Newport and Chris Stanley proposed the following motion at the meeting of RDC on the 25th October 2022.

Proposed by Cllr J E Newport and seconded by Cllr C M Stanley 
‘Fireworks are used by people throughout the year to mark various events likeBonfire Night, Diwali and various New Year celebrations. Great public displays, suchas the annual Rayleigh Lions display at King George's Park, bring much enjoymentto many people. However, rising amounts of private displays and irresponsible usehave led to many residents contacting Councilors in support of an RSPCA publicawareness campaign aimed at ensuring people can enjoy fireworks responsiblywhilst minimising the risk to animal welfare, horses, farm animals, wildlife andresidents.This Council notes that:-Fireworks can be legally used on any day between the hours of 7am and 11pm, withextensions in place until on Bon Fire Night, New Year's Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year.There are four categories of fireworks in the UK; the first three categories areavailable to buy, carry, or use (on private property) to any member of the public aged18 or over.Fireworks release smoke into the atmosphere, reducing air quality, as well as toxinssuch as lead and mercury in most instances.The unpredictable, loud, and high intensity that many fireworks make can cause fearand anxieties, especially within people, horses, and dogs.Used irresponsibly, fireworks can cause damage to property and do significant harmto people and animals. They also pose a fire risk.NHS England state that over the 2018 bonfire night and the Hindu festival Diwaliperiod, more than 35,000 people went to NHS.uk for advice on how to treat burnsand scalds – a “significant jump.
This Council resolves to:
  • Write to the UK Government urging them to introduce legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90dB for those sold to the public for privatedisplaysWrite to local suppliers of fireworks to encourage them to stock ‘quieter’ fireworks for public display
  • Encourage large retailers to follow the lead of Sainsburys in withdrawing the sale of fireworks to the public, especially in convenience stores
  • Ensure Encourge all public firework displays within Rochford District to be advertised in advance of the event, with appropriate advertising for the size of the display, allowing residents to take precautions for people in their care and pets.
  • Actively promote the RSPCA's public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people – including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks.’

Conservative Councillors voted to note the motion, but in a bizarre turn of events, it appeals the Conservatives have made an enormous u-turn (which of course we welcome!) and have adopted the Lib Dem policy and issued the following press release: 

Bonfire night and fireworks can be a nightmare for vulnerable adults, young children and family pets. 
That is why this year Rochford District Council is supporting the RSPCA firework #BangOutOfOrder campaign.  
As the campaign highlights, it not only for animals that do not like the loud noises of fireworks, but also people with Autism, vulnerable adults and young children.
For families and people who want to enjoy the fireworks, the RSPCA recommends attending organised local events. 
They are family friendly and safely organised, and because they generally receive prior notice through advertising and word of mouth, neighbours are able to prepare their animals for any distress. 
Councillor Arthur Williams, Portfolio holder for Communities and Health, said:
“The annual tradition of bonfire night can be a great fun event for families and many children, but please have consideration for those of our community and our pets who don’t enjoy the fireworks. Please hold your celebrations at one of the great, local, organised events.”   
Here are some of the main organised displays taking place within the district. 
Rayleigh: King George V Playing Fields, Rayleigh organised by the Lions Club on 5th November between 5:00pm and 8:00pm
Hockley: Belchamps Scout Activity Centre, Hawkwell on 5th November between 5:00pm and 9:00pm
Rochford: Westcliff Rugby Club, Aviation Way on 4th November between 6:00pm and 10:00pm
Rankins Cricket Club, Stambridge Road on 4th November between 6:00pm and 11:00pm
Smaller displays that do not require a licence or permits have been included on theCouncil’s events page.
If you are holding an event, please check our firework advice safety list.
Check out the following link for the RSPCA's #BangOutOfOrder campaign

Source: RDC News

However, despite their change of heart, there still remains questions to be answered, as it would appear the democratic decision made by Council really isn't a decision at all! If this is allowed to continue this could have dire consquences for future decision making in our district and our residents.

About the author, Editor

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