Police and fire chiefs have said any move to restrict the sale and use of fireworks could have the opposite effect – and lead to an increase in illegal use.
This was part of a parliamentary debate on the issue on Monday, June 6, triggered by an online petition calling for the restriction on the sale of fireworks.
You can read the debate on the Hansard website.
Mr Walsh said: “Any proposals to shorten sales periods could have an opposite impact with the potential to increase illegal firework sales, black market and rogue traders.”
Andy Hubble, BFA spokesperson and director of Starfire Fireworks, said: “In our view any further restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks would lead to a sharp rise in unregulated, untraceable sales and illegal imports into the country from Europe.
“The current law around fireworks – which has included 16 new pieces of legislation since 2004 – is effective and proportionate. The industry is already heavily regulated.
“Our view on this petition is backed by the Chief Fire Officers Association, the National Police Chief’s Council, and the UK Government.
Dave Mathias, Explosive Liaison Officer at Devon and Cornwall police, said current legislation was robust and allowed for effective control by police.
He added the current legislation also worked to deter the illegal sale of fireworks out of the back of vans and at boot sales, something that could increase if people’s enjoyment of fireworks and access to them is further restricted.
“It’s my view there should be no changes to the current legislation or controls regarding the importation, distribution, sale and storage of fireworks as the regulations and control are currently fit for purpose,” he said.
“It’s also believed the illegal and inappropriate storage of fireworks may be a further result [of changes to current laws] thus causing potential danger to public safety.”
The issue of the safe storage of fireworks was echoed by Gary Walsh from the Chief Fire Officers Association, who said legislation put in place following the review of all explosive legislation and enactment of the Explosive regulations 2014, was “proportionate to the risk”.
Mr Hubble said: “The British Fireworks Association strongly opposes the antisocial use of fireworks and we have written to all MPs actively calling for tougher penalties on their misuse, which would mean raising the maximum fine for anyone found guilty from £1,000 to £5,000.
“The UK fireworks industry is a responsible industry that puts safety first, provides a product that is enjoyed by 10 million people every year and supports thousands of jobs around the country.”
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has said that the laws and regulations in place provide robust guidance on the safe use of fireworks. In its official response to the petition, BIS said:
“Although there is some use of fireworks outside the traditional periods, we believe that the majority of people who use fireworks do so at the appropriate times of year and have a sensible and responsible attitude towards them.
“There are no plans at the moment to place further limitations on their use.”