Closed petition Restrict the use of fireworks to reduce stress and fear in animals and pets

Fireworks now occur at all times of the day and evening for many weeks during the autumn and winter. Pet and animal owners struggle to keep their companion animals safe during this extended period. We call for fireworks use by the general public to be permitted on traditional celebration dates only.

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The need for reform of the Firework Regulations (2004) has been recognized by a number of organizations and charities. Current regulations are outdated and largely ineffective and we are calling for the improved regulation of fireworks use in the UK. The main need is to restrict fireworks use by the general public to the traditional dates around the Guy Fawkes, New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year celebrations. Further discussion is at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FireworkABatement/

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 6 June 2016

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Government responded

We are aware that fireworks can cause distress to animals. Restrictions on the general public’s use of fireworks, and permitted noise levels, already exist and we have no plans to extend them.

Read the response in full

Current firework regulations allow fireworks for home use to be sold during the traditional firework periods of Bonfire Night (15 October – 10 November), New Year’s Eve (26 December – 31 December), Chinese New Year (the day of the Chinese New Year and three days immediately before), and Diwali (the day of Diwali and three days immediately before).

Suppliers who wish to sell fireworks outside the traditional periods must comply with stringent conditions before being granted a licence by their local licensing authority. This means the availability and use of fireworks outside the traditional periods has been greatly reduced.

The regulations also created a curfew preventing the use of fireworks between 11.00pm and 7.00am all year round with the exception of 5 November, when the curfew starts at 12 midnight, and New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali, when the curfew starts at 1.00 am on the night of celebration.

We understand concerns about the distress noisy fireworks can cause to pets, livestock and wildlife. This is one of the reasons that there is a noise level limit of 120 decibels on fireworks for home use. We realise, however, that even at this level fireworks noise can be distressing to some animals and refer owners to advice on keeping animals safe during fireworks periods. This is freely available from animal charities, such as the Blue Cross which gives both general and species-specific advice on its website.

In addition there is Government-sponsored advice and guidance on the safe and considerate use of fireworks on the Safer Fireworks website.

Excessive noise from fireworks, or noise during the curfew period, can be considered a statutory nuisance and local authority environmental health officers have the power to investigate complaints of fireworks noise and act to prevent it where appropriate.

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.

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Other parliamentary business

Get involved with House of Commons Committee inquiry on animal welfare in relation to domestic pets

You may be interested to know that the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee is currently looking into animal welfare in relation to domestic pets, including cats, dogs and horses. It will focus on the Animal Welfare Act which places a legal obligation on owners and keepers of animals to care for them properly. The Committee wants to examine the effectiveness of the Act and its enforcement with regards to domestic animals. It will also look at whether that Act and other existing legislation remains fit for purpose in the age of the internet with regards to the sale of domestic pets.

The Committee is asking for written submissions from people on the following issues:

-The effectiveness of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 with regard to domestic pets;
-Regulation surrounding the sale of domestic pets, including online sales and advertising;
-Enforcement of current animal welfare legislation, including prosecution of offences by the police, local authorities, the RSPCA and others;
-Comparative approaches to enforcement in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 17 March 2016.

You can find out more about the Committee's inquiry here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-sub-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/animal-welfare-domestic-15-16/

You can watch a short video about how Select Committees work here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c&feature=youtu.be

You can find out more about how to send a submission to a Select Committee here: http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/committees/

You can follow the EFRA Committee on Twitter: @CommonsEFRA