Cheltenham MP backs Review of Firework Regulations

Cheltenham’s MP, Alex Chalk, has called in Parliament for a review of current firework regulations.  Mr Chalk was speaking during a debate on the sale of fireworks to the public. The debate was prompted by an e-petition calling for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public and for a move to organised displays only.

He highlighted the experience of a number of Cheltenham residents who had contacted him with their concerns.

Mr Chalk revealed key worries centred on fireworks being used over an extended period of weeks and being let off late into the night.  He emphasised fears about personal and property safety and animal welfare. He also raised concerns about the impact on vulnerable people after being contacted by the wife of a veteran.

Mr Chalk urged caution for those considering an outright ban on the sale of fireworks to the public. He called for the Government to gather evidence to establish the scale of the problems.

Speaking in Parliament Mr Chalk said: “I suggested on Facebook that I would speak in this debate, and I invited people to engage with me. I was astonished by the level of interaction by people in Cheltenham. They argued on both sides of the debate, but one thing shone out. One person suggested that “firework usage has got completely out of control.”

“Another person wrote on Facebook: “In Rowanfield people let off fireworks at all hours of the day and night (several times we had them go off in the middle of the night repeatedly, right above our house). I think there are a few who let the side down but unfortunately it means that I am for banning the sale of fireworks to the public. People should be encouraged to go to official events instead.”

Mr Chalk said “Doing nothing is not an option. Small scale family celebrations on Bonfire Night are a long tradition and I’d be reluctant to see those lost. But there is a problem and it is getting worse.  It is time to establish its scale. and then make some sensible changes based on hard evidence from around the country.”

The RSPCA and FAB Firework Abatement UK visited the Office for Product Safety and Standards in Birmingham last week with the petition backed by 358,000 people, which renews calls for an urgent review into the existing legislation.

RSPCA campaign manager Holly Barber said: “We want to see the UK Government listening to people and strengthening the existing law and restricting the use of fireworks to traditional days of the year like bonfire night.