City officials demand noisy fireworks ban for Milton Keynes
The move is to protect animals and vulnerable people
Milton Keynes councillors are demanding action to reduce the damaging impact of fireworks.
Local Liberal Democrats say the louder bangs are "stressful and scary" for pets, wildlife and vulnerable people in the borough.
They are urging shops to stock only "quieter" fireworks and even they propose to write to the government urging them to introduce special firework laws imposing a maximum noise level.
No firework used in public displays should be louder than 90 decibels, they suggest.
For comparison, the average vacuum cleaner produces 75 decibels of noise, while a motorcycle is between 96 and 100 decibels. Heavy traffic, a power lawn mower is between 80 and 89 decibels.
Currently, fireworks produce a sound output in the 150 to 175 decibel range.
Lib Dem council Uroy Clarke Clarke will be proposing the motion at next week's full council meeting.
“Although responsible fireworks displays are enjoyable for many, we cannot ignore that for pets, wildlife and some vulnerable people, the noises can be stressful and scary,” he said.
The motion is likely to be successful because the council is largely run by a Lib Dem and Labour coalition called the Progressive Alliance.
One it is passed, Lib Dem councillor Paul Trendall, who is Cabinet member for customer services, will be asked to promote an awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animals and vulnerable people.
The council will also demand public firework displays are advertised is advance to enable people to make preparations for pets.
And they will encourage local suppliers to stock only quieter fireworks, with no loud bangers and rockets.
The chief executive of Mk Council will also write officially to the government, urging them to introduce legislation for maximum noise levels of fireworks to 90 decibels for all public displays.
Cllr Clarke said: “I hope that my fellow councillors will agree that this council should be taking action to support and protect animals and vulnerable residents across Milton Keynes.”
There is currently no move to restrict fireworks to certain times of the year.
However, the law states people can only buy fireworks (including sparklers) from registered sellers for private use on certain dates. These are between October 15 and November 10, between December 26 and December 31, or for the three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year.
At other times you can only buy fireworks from licensed shops.
It is also against the law to set off or throw fireworks, including sparklers, in the street or other public places.
They must not be set off between 11pm and 7am. The exceptions to this are on Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight, and on New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am
People can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to six months for selling or using fireworks illegally. They could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90.
However, with fireworks increasingly being used all year round, the laws are hard to police and often violated.