To provide information to the Committee to enable those to consider Cllr Sue Honeywood’s motion to Council on 21st January 2020 (Minute 76 refers) in respect of public firework displays.
The Committee heard that with the onset of the latter half of the year a number of events were traditionally marked with firework displays and from mid-October until the end of the year firework sales took place from supermarkets, some convenience stores and a growing number of temporary specialist shops.
Furthermore that year organisers of firework events would have had to consider the precautions necessary to reduce risk of transmission of COVID-19 infection at gatherings in outdoor areas.
Fireworks could only be sold at certain times of the year:
• from 15 October to 10 November
• from 26 December to 31 December
• the first day of Chinese New Year and the 3 days before it
• the first day of Diwali and the 3 days before it
A licence from ECC, issued under the Explosives Regulations 2014, was required in order to store up to 2 tonnes of explosives. The sale of fireworks outside of the dates above required an all year round sellers licence in addition to the storage licence.
The attached leaflet publish by Environmental Protection UK provides some further information around the sale and use of fireworks. http://environmentalp.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Fireworks.pdf
Fireworks and bonfire displays for various celebrations had in some instances been the cause of injuries to those attending. Furthermore, disturbance is caused to local residents’ families and pets and animal based business such as riding schools, kennels and catteries. A district wide promotional campaign and advance publicity of organised displays should help to reduce such injuries and disturbance.
It is thus timely to consider the benefits of a campaign to remind the public and organisers of local events about the precautions that should be taken to reduce risk of injury and disturbance to the local area.
In order to organise a display for a charitable or business purpose the person in charge should be able to competently carry out a risk assessment in order to fully consider the hazards to the safety of people attending or working on the site and the control measures that will be necessary to reduce the risks of injury as far as is reasonably practicable.
· Officers from the environmental health department are authorised to take formal action regarding breaches of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 regarding risks to health and safety and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in relation to statutory nuisance from noise disturbance. As firework displays are often one off events it is extremely difficult to take action in respect of noise disturbance
· The sale of fireworks, including any product safety issue, is regulated by the Trading Standards team at Essex County Council. Any campaign led by TDC could be run in partnership with Trading Standards.
· Where the display includes the sale of alcohol or any other licensable activity or is located on licensed premises the person in control of the activity must have regard to the four licensing objectives
1. Prevention of crime and disorder.
2. Public safety.
3. Prevention of public nuisance.
4. Protection of children from harm
· For single events where up to 500 people are involved (spectators and staff included) a Temporary Event Notice will be required but if greater numbers of people are involved the event may be referred to the Tendring Safety Advisory Group which is made up of representatives from HSE, Essex County Council, and Essex Fire Service and Essex Police.
· Advance notice of public firework displays would allow more time for local residents to take their own measures to minimise disturbance to young children and pets and for businesses to put measures in place to reduce stress to animals kept on their premises. The Council does not have any statutory powers to require the advance advertising of public displays but can, via various media channels, encourage the advertising of events.
The Council has a presence on social media sites for disseminating advice and information which has been found to be effective in reaching significant numbers of people in the area and could be used to promote safety measures and consideration to reduce noise disturbance through earlier finishing times and low noise fireworks and displays.
After some discussion it was RECOMMENDED that:-
a) the Committee supports Councillor S. Honeywoods motion to Council in relation to this item.
b) the Council promote responsible approaches to firework displays in relation to the safety of those attending,
c) help to reduce disturbance to local communities and;
d) provide advance notice of public firework displays.
e) the Council put an online questionnaire on the website to monitor complaints in relation to fireworks;
f) and the Committee adds this to its work agenda and returns to it next year to look at the data collected.