Call for curbs on noisy fireworks to protect animals

Firework enthusiasts could have to limit their displays to one hour or potentially face fines if a trial scheme to reduce distress to animals is adopted in Southend.

St Laurence ward councillor Lydia Hyde has backed a “Rocket O Clock” scheme being trialled in Chelmsford and has called for the use of “quiet fireworks” for public displays.

Under the scheme, residents are asked to have their private firework displays during a one hour period on November 5 and 6 to limit the impact on pets and other animals.

Labour’s Cllr Hyde said: “It is an idea that’s been started off in Chelmsford where they say for a scheduled hour people can have their private fireworks.

“Hopefully they would co-ordinate it much like public displays. Pet owners and horse owners have got a little bit more time to prepare their animals because they do have a big impact on pets.

“There was a news story earlier this year where two horses actually died.”

The Chelmsford scheme is voluntary but asked if it could be enforced, Ms Hyde said: “This is a new idea so I would have to have a conversation with other councillors.

“If it was something we took forward, and we would have to investigate that, I think it could potentially fall within the council’s nuisance noise procedures.”

She added: “It could be called a statutory nuisance. If we had a policy of a set time and people were still choosing to set them off at different times that could be a way we could potentially enforce on it but we would have to explore that a bit more and see how well it turns out in Chelmsford.

“It’s however statutory noise is regulated now. It would have to be seen as a nuisance in order for it to be legal to fine anyone but I think most people are quite respectful given the option.”

Southend BID organises weekly firework displays on Southend seafront, but Cllr Hyde, a member of Labour’s Animal Welfare Society, said she believed “there should be greater control in the sale of fireworks”.

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter