Fireworks restriction debate: MP calls for ban on 'rubbish' garden displays

Diwali fireworks at Cossington Street Recreation Ground, Leicester Image copyright Matt Short
Image caption Campaigners called for home use fireworks to be restricted to specific celebrations

Amateur home firework displays should be banned, in favour of licensed organised displays, a Tory MP has suggested.

Speaking during a parliamentary debate, Philip Hollobone said individual fireworks are extremely dangerous.

But business minister Jo Johnson dismissed a ban and insisted current laws work well.

The debate came after a petition to restrict the use of fireworks attracted more than 100,000 names.

The petition, which called for restrictions on when fireworks can be used, was started by Jill Cutsforth, from Beverley, East Yorkshire, and Julie Doorne, from Sleaford, Lincolnshire in a bid to reduce stress and fear in people and animals.

But, Mr Hollobone, MP for Kettering, called for the government to go further.

He said: "I think there's great merit in saying all fireworks displays need to be licensed with a licensed operator, and frankly, amateur family-organised fireworks displays in people's back gardens are basically rubbish."

Image caption Current regulations allow fireworks to be used all year round, except between the hours of 23:00 and 07:00

Labour's Angela Smith, a member of the the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, also backed the petition, arguing that restricting the number of days the public and organised events can set off fireworks should be restricted.

She said: "Ideally, we would end the use of fireworks in back gardens. But I do understand the difficulty in delivering that as policy."

Instead, she called for tighter regulations to govern how people use fireworks.

Mr Johnson acknowledged the concerns raised but said restricting their use to traditional holidays would be ineffective.

"It is likely that those who already use fireworks in an anti-social or inconsiderate way would not be deterred by further regulation," he said.

He added: "Restrictions in use could lead to a drop in legitimate sales, leading to job losses not only in the firework industry but independent and associated businesses."

Bracknell MP Phillip Lee also warned the debate that restricting the number of days that displays are permitted could reduce the viability of well-performing fireworks businesses.

The government said following the debate it would continue to monitor the situation closely.

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