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Half of Wales’ local authorities now back fireworks action

Half of Wales’ local authorities have now taken action to mitigate the risks fireworks pose to animals – with Pembrokeshire County Council joining the growing list.

On February 15, the Council’s cabinet unanimously backed an RSPCA-backed Notice of Motion, which had previously been referred to the Cabinet by Milford East Councillor Guy Woodham at a full council meeting in December.

The proposals mean Pembrokeshire Council will require all public firework displays in the county to be advertised in advance, allowing residents to take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people.

A public awareness campaign about the impact fireworks have on animals and vulnerable people will also be launched – including the precautions that can be taken to help mitigate risks; while local suppliers will be urged to sell quieter fireworks.

Pembrokeshire Council has also committed to writing to the Welsh Government and UK Government urging them to take action on the issue, including for Westminster legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90dB for those sold to the public for private displays.

The motion was backed unanimously – by ten votes to nil – by Pembrokeshire’s cabinet.

RSPCA Cymru has long been concerned by the fear and distress which many pets and other animals experience as a consequence of the loud bangs associated with fireworks. At an England and Wales level, the charity receives approximately 400 calls each year concerning animal welfare issues linked to the use of fireworks.

With public displays not taking place amid ongoing coronavirus restrictions, RSPCA projections suggest a recent 12% increase in DIY displays at the home – something which has amplified concerns around potential animal welfare issues.

Cllr Woodham – who also serves as cabinet member for education and lifelong learning – said: “It’s good to know Pembrokeshire County Council has become the 11th Local Authority in Wales to adopt the RSPCA Cymru Notice of Motion.

“There is no intention to stop people from enjoying well organised firework displays but to address the effect of firework noise on people, pets, wildlife and farm animals which has been a growing concern for many years. The Notice of Motion had the full backing of the Cabinet, many other Councillors and members of the public.

“It would be fantastic to see all 22 Local Authorities in Wales adopt the same or similar Notices of Motion as quickly as possible and for the UK Government to legislate accordingly.”

Lewis Clark, RSPCA public affairs adviser, added: “The RSPCA’s #BangOutOfOrder fireworks campaign is gathering real momentum – and now half of all local authorities in Wales have backed our motion for action.

“We know many people love fireworks – but our campaign is all about encouraging more responsible use, and ensuring people can be prepared so they can take steps to ensure fireworks are less frightening and dangerous for animals.

“Around 62% of dogs show signs of distress during fireworks. This alone means many thousands of animals are affected by unplanned and random fireworks each year – but steps like those made by Pembrokeshire Council will help change this. It’s more great news for animals”