This petition was submitted during the 2017–2019 Conservative government
Petition All venues that hold firework displays to be licenced
FIREWORKS SCARE ANIMALS TO DEATH
The Shetland Pony Welfare Trust is a small Registered Charity and has for a number of years been suffering from the effects of Fireworks being set off only a few yards from its sanctuary, of rescued horses and ponies.
Thousands of pet owners have similar issues
All animals can be effected by fireworks and in some cases these can be devastating for owners and there pets
We call upon the Secretary of state to secure that the risk of public use of fireworks is minimal and that only licenced venues can hold displays.
A regulatory distance to be put in place for proximity of animals/buildings to the event
This petition closed early because of a General Election Find out more on the Petitions Committee website
This response was given on 29 May 2020
Legislation aims to protect animals from the impact of fireworks by controlling their availability and use. Government is taking action to promote responsible use, to reduce the impact on communities.
Read the response in full
There is a comprehensive regulatory framework in place for fireworks that aims to reduce the disturbance to animals and risks to people. Existing legislation controls the sale, availability and use of fireworks, as well as setting a curfew and noise limit.
The Government believes that the majority of people who use fireworks do so sensibly and take a responsible approach to their use. The Government is aware that there are strongly held views by some individuals and groups, and has been listening to the concerns that have been raised about the impact fireworks have on animals and communities.
The Petitions Committee report of 5 November 2019 agreed with the Government’s position that it is not appropriate to ban the public from buying and using fireworks, as it would not be a proportionate measure at present. The Petitions Committee recommended that other action was more appropriate in the first instance.
For that reason, the Government has made a commitment to:
• Develop a public awareness campaign on the safe use of fireworks;
• Publish the fact-based evidence base that the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has been developing;
• Engage with animal charities to further discuss their work related to animal welfare issues;
• Engage with Local Authorities to understand the issues they face with regard to fireworks;
• Engage with the fireworks industry to discuss any additional action they might take to address the concerns raised around fireworks packaging appealing to underage individuals.
The Petitions Committee recommended that the Government work with Local Authorities to identify a best practice approach to a mandatory permit system for fireworks displays. The Government has made a commitment in its response to engage with Local Authorities on this issue, in order to understand their first-hand experiences and seek their views on whether this would be an appropriate and beneficial measure.
The Government has also committed to developing a public awareness campaign on fireworks. The aim of the campaign will be to educate people of the risks associated with fireworks, to promote law-abiding behaviour and to help individuals understand the impact of inconsiderate and irresponsible use of fireworks on communities, including on animals.
OPSS has also been developing a fact-based evidence base on fireworks to ensure that its policy making is based on evidence. As part of this work, OPSS has engaged with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that a full range of evidence and data is collated. OPSS has engaged with animal charities, to seek information on the noise of fireworks and the impact it has on animals. This work will build a picture of the data around fireworks, to identify whether, and what, further action is appropriate. The evidence base work is an ongoing exercise and will be published in due course, we will continue to engage with stakeholders to inform our work.
As regards the welfare of animals, it is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to cause an animal any unnecessary suffering, and this includes through the misuse of fireworks. The maximum penalty for such an offence is six months’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. The Government has committed to increasing the maximum custodial penalty for this offence from six months to 5 years, and is supporting the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, currently before Parliament, which will implement these changes. Second Reading for the Bill is timetabled for 11 September 2020.
We would encourage any livestock owners, concerned about planned fireworks displays taking place near their premises, to contact the organisers to see if any compromises can be made, such as using less noisy fireworks.
Some animal welfare organisations also provide advice for animal owners when fireworks are being let off. An example is one published by the Blue Cross which can be found on their website: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/fireworks-and-pets.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Other parliamentary business
Petitions Committee report
The Petitions Committee has been looking into fireworks after so many people in recent years have signed petitions calling for greater restrictions on their sale and use by the general public. The Committee has heard from people and organisations on all sides of the argument about fireworks.
The Committee's inquiry has now finished and we thought you'd be interested to know that its report, with recommendations to the Government, will be published on Tuesday 5 November.
A link to the report will go live on the Committee's fireworks inquiry webpage from 00.01 hours on Tuesday 5 November:
A summary of the key points will be published here, from 9am on Tuesday 5 November:
Government responds to Petitions Committee report on fireworks
The Petitions Committee has received and published a response from the Government to its report on fireworks. You can read the response here:
The Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP, commented on the Government's response:
“This is a disappointing response from the Government to our fireworks inquiry and, when normal business resumes, we will be pursuing this issue further.”
The Petitions Committee is currently unable to schedule debates on petitions. You can find out more here: