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RCT Council to firework controls

Written by on 9th October 2020

Following the RSPCA’s call for greater controls on fireworks and a separate Notice of Motion, Cabinet could agree to a review into the use of Council land for firework displays and a future promotional campaign about using fireworks responsibly.

At their meeting on Tuesday, October 13, Cabinet will consider a report outlining the current legal controls on the sale and use of fireworks. The report recommends that Members instruct Officers to review whether greater restrictions are needed for the use of Council land for public firework displays.

It also recommends Members support a promotional campaign to be run by the Council in 2021, encouraging the responsible use of fireworks and for organisers of planned public events to give early notification to the community.

A Notice of Motion, accepted by the Council in November 2019, raised that the use of fireworks is an increasing concern for residents generally, those with autism, pet owners and Armed Forces personnel with PTSD. It also noted an RSPCA campaign to reduce the potential for injury or distress to animals.

The report to Cabinet outlines the Council’s current firework controls, which are in line with UK regulations. This includes Environmental Health Officers inspecting the sale and storage of fireworks for the 32 businesses currently licensed to sell them in the County Borough. Two traders were prosecuted in the past two years for failure to comply with storage requirements.

Fireworks can only be sold to businesses around Bonfire Night (October 15 to November 10), New Year’s Eve (December 26 to 31), Chinese New Year and Diwali (the day of these celebrations and the three days immediately before).

Officers also investigate any complaints about the illegal sale of fireworks, while robust controls are in place relating to product standards and safety of fireworks being sold, along with the prevention of underage sales. These are both regulated by the Public Protection Service Trading Standards team.

Councillor Rhys Lewis, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Well-being and Cultural Services, said: “Cabinet will next week consider a report which outlines the current firework controls undertaken by the Council, which are in line with UK regulations and

permit only specifically-licenced premises to sell them at designated times of the year – around Bonfire Night, New Year, Chinese New Year and Diwali.

“We know that October and November in particular, in the run up to Bonfire Night, can be very difficult times of the year for some community members – including veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder who can suffer massively. Recognising this issue, the Council last year held a free film night for members of our Armed Forces community, who were welcomed to a safe environment at the Park and Dare Theatre to enjoy Bonfire Night together.

“The report to Cabinet is concerned with taking steps to best achieve a compromise between allowing community celebrations for key events but also ensuring they are conducted sensibly and respectfully. The Council has the ability to control activities held on land which it owns. For example, all event organisers must ensure their celebration is being clearly advertised within the local community, to allow people with animals and vulnerable people to take the necessary steps they require for their wellbeing before each event.

“On Tuesday, Cabinet could choose to review the current controls the Council undertakes in relation to using fireworks on land that it owns. Members could also ask Officers to bring forward a promotional campaign next year, to remind and encourage people to be responsible when using fireworks.”

If agreed by Cabinet, the decision would then be brought to the meeting of Full Council in October 2020 for Elected Members to consider.