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Fireworks over Folkestone & Hythe Revisited

FireworksI get (and reply to!) a lot of email each week, and some is easier to deal with than others.

This morning I received an email about fireworks from a local resident generated from an RSPCA campaign. The email said:

Dear Councillor,

I am writing to you as I am an extremely concerned resident in your council area. My concern is about the misuse of fireworks and their impact on animals. According to a recent poll 52% of UK Adults will be having displays at home with friends and family, a 23% increase on 2019 polling results.

An increase in home displays will most certainly impact upon pets, horses and other animals in surrounding areas. As an animal lover, I really do feel more needs to be done to protect their welfare, especially now, at a time, when, events continue to be cancelled due to rising event costs associated with the pandemic and the fact less people are comfortable with attending large scale events.

While I understand that fireworks can bring much enjoyment to some people, they can cause significant injury, problems and fear for other people and animals. In particular the sudden, loud noises that many fireworks make can cause fear.

The RSPCA supports measures which will help ensure people can enjoy fireworks responsibly while mitigating potentially significant animal welfare problems for pets, horses, farm animals and wildlife.

This year the RSPCA have launched a communications toolkit available via web link and have written to all councils with information on how to access this resource. The aim of the toolkit is to provide videos and social posts to share within localities and to encourage communities to think of their neighbours when making their plans. The kit also provides access to an incident reporting survey to gather intelligence on the negative impacts fireworks have had on our community.

For councils who are able to affect change at a local level the RSPCA have also included some suggested text for a motion view the motion here (PDF 170KB). This mortion can be amended based upon local need and could form the basis of a proposal to the local authority to take more action on this issue.

If you have not yet applied for or received your toolkit, please contact the RSPCA campaigns team on campaigns@rspca.org.uk. Please work with the RSPCA and other local authorities in England by encouraging your fellow councillors to implement the toolkit and where possible pass this motion to improve animal welfare in this area.

Thank you and kind regards.

I was happy to reply, as the District Council had passed a motion on Fireworks - that I moved - last year, and has made some steps on that motion since:

I agree, as I moved a similar motion on fireworks to Folkestone and Hythe District Council this time last year, and it passed with support from 27 Councillors to 2.

https://prater.uk/en/article/2020/1380146/fireworks-over-folkestone-hythe

The letter follow-up to Government required in the motion took a little while to go, but did so in March:

https://prater.uk/en/article/2021/1401190/a-quieter-bang

I've also pushed the district through the year to update their site (which previously never referred to fireworks at all) to not just promote safe fireworks use, but responsible use, quieter alternatives and respect for animals and people that don't like them. It now does that too:

https://folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/fireworks

Although its not everything, I'm pleased we have been able to move this forward in Folkestone and Hythe in the last year. I'd hope shops could assist in stocking a range of quiet fireworks: I know Asda have done so for example, and I hope that includes their Folkestone store.