Rushcliffe fireworks could end over pet and PTSD concerns

Firework displayImage source, EPA
Image caption,
The council conceded some would view scrapping displays as "excessive"

Council-run firework displays could be ended in part of a county to help pet owners and people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Scrapping the displays altogether is one of three options being considered by Rushcliffe Borough Council in Nottinghamshire.

Alternatives include using quiet fireworks or laser displays.

Animal and mental health charities said they welcomed any moves to minimise stress caused by loud fireworks.

A council report, due to be discussed later this week, states: "There is a growing body of evidence regarding the health impacts of firework noise, both upon people and animals.

"People with PTSD may have difficulties with loud sounds such as an exaggerated startle response, fear of sound or aversion to specific sounds, which may trigger flashbacks or panic attacks.

"Children and adults with sensory processing disorders or who are on the autistic spectrum can have hyper-sensitivities to sound, light, touch, taste, smell and pain which stimulate anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed or confused.

"These feelings are also common for people with conditions that affect the brain or nervous system such as dementia."

Image caption,
The RSPCA has been campaigning for tighter restrictions on firework sales

Sue Freeth, chief executive of Combat Stress - a charity that offers mental health support for ex-service personnel - said fireworks were a trigger for those with PTSD.

She said: "While we wouldn't wish to see an end to public displays, we would welcome councils switching to silent fireworks."

The RSPCA said council efforts to consider the needs of pets was a "really positive move".

Government relations manager Claire McParland said: "We've long been campaigning for changes to the sale and use of fireworks and to raise awareness about the impact fireworks can have on animal welfare."

The PDSA also welcomed the move, pointing out fireworks could be "utterly terrifying" for pets due to their sensitive hearing.

Councillors are due to discuss the three options on Thursday.

Earlier this year another Nottinghamshire authority, Broxtowe Borough Council, passed a motion to actively encourage shops to stock quiet fireworks.

Last year, Sainsbury's became the first major supermarket to stop selling fireworks.

The law currently bans anyone from letting off fireworks between 23:00 and 07:00, with the exception of Bonfire Night, Diwali and New Year.

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