Should fireworks be banned? MP calls for ban as petition reaches 300k signatures

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 10:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 10:53 am

A Labour MP has called for a comprehensive ban on the sale of fireworks.

Rachael Maskell said three years ago young people threw a firework at her while she was cycling home from Parliament.

The Labour MP for York Central said she risked being severely injured in the incident.

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Petition on sales and use of fireworks reaches 300k

On Monday (8 November), MPs debated a petition relating to the sale and use of fireworks, which gained more than 301,000 signatures.

Pressing the Government on a comprehensive ban during a Westminster Hall debate, she said: “We have got to remember that at this time of year, our precious NHS, which is overstretched, sees about 2,000 injuries arriving through its doors, 600 of those affecting children, and has about 35 inquiries about burns in relation to both Diwali and Bonfire Night.

“And of course, we know our public servants can often be a target for people who misuse fireworks.

“Indeed, only three years ago, I was cycling home from Parliament when young people who were playing with fireworks threw a firework at me.

“It was nanoseconds of me, slamming on my brakes that caused it to miss. Had it hit, as it exploded as it hit the ground, who knows what the history would have been?”

‘We need to make sure that we see a comprehensive ban’

Now, every year Ms Maskell “fears what could happen” when she cycles on that section of her route.

She added: “Fireworks are so easily accessible in supermarkets and other shops, and that’s why we need to make sure that we see a comprehensive ban.

“If people want to enjoy a firework display, to have one put on by the local authority or fire services, of course is better use of public money, as there are fewer call-outs, which are required by our NHS as well as other emergency services.

“But also it can bring communities together, as opposed to what fireworks are now doing, which is pushing communities apart.”

What the Government said on potential firework ban

Paul Scully, Business Minister, said it was “terrible” to hear what Ms Maskell faced.

On banning fireworks he said: “We have concerns that actually banning fireworks in this way could have significant adverse and unintended consequences for public safety, in particular, perpetuating the emergence of a black market of illicit fireworks.”

He added: “I am always sorry to hear the stories about some individuals and animals and how they have been affected by fireworks in this way.

“That is why the Government are committed to promoting the safe and considerate use of fireworks, and why we have been carrying out a programme of action on fireworks to ensure that those who use fireworks do so safely and appropriately.

“I think it’s first of all important to set out that that this is a highly regulated area, with a comprehensive regulatory framework already in place to control the sale, availability and use of fireworks.

"We believe that this framework strikes the right balance for people to enjoy fireworks while aiming to reduce risks to people and disturbances to people and animals.”

A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com