Petition Make fireworks quieter: Review and reduce the decibel limit on fireworks
At the current 120 dB limit, fireworks are a source of disturbance for people and animals. Even brief exposure to 120 dB can risk hearing loss.
Quiet fireworks are available at 70 dB, and hearing damage can occur above 85 dB. We suggest reducing the legal dB limit of Fireworks to 70-85 dB.
In addition to the risk of hearing loss, loud fireworks can be a significant disturbance for autistic people and people with PTSD, hyperacusis, and dementia.
The noise is distressing to animals. The panic induced by loud fireworks can lead to injury and death to horses and birds. Wild animals abandon their young in fear. Bees can become disoriented and unable to find their way back to their hives. They can make it difficult for service dogs and support animals to carry out their duties.
This response was given on 25 November 2021
The Government recognises that some people have strong feelings about fireworks and has been listening to concerns raised by members of the public regarding the impact of fireworks noise.
Read the response in full
The Government recognises that some people have strong feelings about fireworks, and the potential impact they can have on communities, for example, by causing disturbances to vulnerable individuals and groups or animals. However, we also know that fireworks, when used responsibly, are a source of enjoyment for many people.
The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has been carrying out a programme of work on fireworks in response to concerns raised by the public and we continue to commission research and use evidence to inform our work. This has included developing and publishing an evidence base on fireworks and undertaking engagement with a wide range of organisations, including charities supporting vulnerable groups. We have also commissioned noise research to test the decibel level of commonly used fireworks. The objective of the testing work is to help us understand the decibel level associated with a range of fireworks and whether they are compliant with the regulations. The results of the testing will be available in due course.
OPSS also ran a public awareness campaign for the start of the 2021 fireworks season, working in partnership with animal welfare organisations, safety charities and the industry, to promote the safe and considerate use of fireworks to the general public. This year, the campaign had a potential reach of 4.1m people which built on the success of the 2020 campaign.
We continue to believe that existing legislation strikes the right balance, allowing people to enjoy fireworks, whilst reducing risks and disturbances to people and animals. Current regulations control their sale, availability, and use, including setting a maximum noise level of 120 decibels for consumer fireworks. Many retailers also offer ‘lower noise’ and ‘no bang’ fireworks which are available to purchase by consumers. The Government has no current plans to introduce further restrictions on fireworks to the public, but we continue to monitor the situation and listen to the concerns raised regarding fireworks noise.
In the case 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 and the Government supported the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, which increased the maximum custodial penalty for this offence from six months to five years. We also encourage livestock owners who are concerned about planned firework displays to contact the organisers to see if any compromises can be made, such as using less noisy fireworks.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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