Even if you aren’t off to an organised event, the chances are you’ll see some fireworks over the next few days – after all, someone on your road will be putting on a garden display, right?
As we head into peak bonfire season, our Which? Trusted Traders team put together some advice around bonfire rules, considerations and safety.
But when we put it out there on our Facebook page, a common theme started to emerge, and it wasn’t related to bonfires: are our neighbours being as considerate as they should be when it comes to setting off fireworks? It seems that many don’t think so.
And it isn’t just our Facebook comments suggesting there’s an issue – did you know that a petition calling for restrictions on when fireworks can be used gained more than 100,000 signatures after its launch in October 2015? As a result, it was discussed in Parliament back in June, and this was the government’s response:
’We are aware that fireworks can cause distress to animals. Restrictions on the general public’s use of fireworks, and permitted noise levels, already exist and we have no plans to extend them.’
Those restrictions currently include a limit on home-use fireworks to 120 decibels, but you are allowed to use them all year round. The exception? Between 11pm and 7am, when a curfew is supposedly ‘enforced’… it would seem many disagree at just how effective this curfew really is.
While antisocial hours are a problem, it can be an even bigger worry for pet owners, as a dog-owning Which? staff member explained:
‘The world is a scary place for dogs and cats around this time of year. Our two dogs get panicky when they hear loud bangs – their heads shoot up and they tear off to either cower behind us, or find a safe place. They also start panting when they’re frightened – heightened when we take them for a walk in the evening. We tend to not leave them on their own because of this.’
With stress and fear issues for humans and animals alike, you can see why so many people feel strongly.
Of course, for some ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ as colourful pyrotechics light up the night sky on Bonfire Night is a must for autumn, but perhaps there’s an argument to only keep them for organised displays?
So, are ‘antisocial’ fireworks driving you round the twist? Or do you enjoy watching them go off, regardless of the hour or the time of year?