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Tighter controls on fireworks?

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A CONSULTATION has been launched into the Island’s firework legislation – with tighter regulations being considered regarding both private and public displays.

Currently, permission is only needed for public firework displays

Currently, anyone wishing to hold a public fireworks display must obtain a public entertainment licence from the Bailiff – but no permission is needed to hold a private display. There is no legal obligation to advertise any firework display, whether private or public.

However, deputy chief fire officer Paul Brown said that the service had begun a consultation with parish Constables and public venues which hold displays to consider the social and community issues surrounding the use of fireworks.

Rebecca Hefford, whose five-year-old horse Harry was injured when he panicked during a fireworks display which was taking place at a private party near his stables, in St Mary, in October, has previously called for tighter regulations.

‘I am really not against people throwing parties and using fireworks, but I really think there needs to be a law which requires people to get permission beforehand,’ the 64-year-old, from St Mary, said.

‘If animal owners know something is planned then we can take precautions to make sure our animals are safe.’

As a result of panicking during last year’s display, Harry suffered knee injuries. Miss Hefford said that at the time he had only just returned from having treatment on his knees in the UK. She believes that he also suffered from a spinal fracture during the incident – which has only just been detected.

‘Harry has been recovering from serious knee injuries over the last six months but it wasn’t until I went to ride him recently that I realised something was wrong and discovered he had a fractured spine. Now I don’t know if I will lose him,’ she said.

Miss Hefford said that if she had been told about the display she would have purchased tranquillisers for Harry and turned the radio on in an effort to keep him calm.

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States vet Theo Knight-Jones said: ‘There should be more consideration given to who can use fireworks and when. I think people could be more sensible and considerate of how and when they choose to use fireworks.’

Newly elected St Mary Constable John Le Bailly added: ‘I think more needs to be done to bring in the needed legislation which would make people obliged to give at least one week’s notice ahead of any private display.

‘Plus, it isn’t just animals that are affected, there are older people and anyone who has fought in a war and experienced loud traumatic explosives are badly affected too.

‘I believe that much-needed legislation and compromise can be achieved without being killjoys.’

Krystle Higgins

By Krystle Higgins
Reporter

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