Petition Ban any fireworks for sale in Jersey unless they are low noise fireworks.
The amount of terror caused to domestic pets and livestock is untenable. As the fireworks in Jersey seem to be let off over a 3 week period there is no way for owners to plan for the distress.
I have no problem with people having fireworks, it’s the noise associated that causes the distress. As low noise fireworks are available, the Law should change to only allow sale of low noise fireworks to the general public. Let's stop the annual suffering caused to domestic pets, livestock and wildlife.
This response was given on 11 December 2020
The Minister is unable to support this petition, but new fireworks Regulations will be brought in due course seeking to achieve a balanced approach to regulating the use of the noisiest fireworks.
The Minister for Home Affairs consulted on proposed Regulations relating to the importation, manufacture, storage, possession, supply, retail, use, transport and export of fireworks and other pyrotechnic articles in late 2019. These Regulations would be made under the Explosives (Jersey) Law 2014.
The proposed Regulations would enhance and broaden controls, primarily regarding the supply, possession and use of fireworks and other pyrotechnic articles, and bring the statutory framework around fireworks and other pyrotechnic articles into one piece of legislation.
The Minister is grateful to all of those who contributed to this consultation, and notes that the responses received expressed a broad range of views. These contributions will be considered again prior to a formal consultation response being issued, and amendments to the proposed regulations may be made accordingly.
It is unfortunate that work to bring these Regulations into force has been unavoidably delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it remains the intention of the Minister that they are brought in due course, subject to approval by the States Assembly.
The proposed regulations do include provisions which regulate fireworks differently depending on their noise level but do not seek to ban all noisy fireworks completely.
Rather, the Regulations would limit the ability to acquire or possess the noisiest fireworks, i.e. those with a noise level exceeding 120 decibels, to those with ‘specialist knowledge’. It would be against the Regulations to supply a Category F4 firework, T2 theatrical pyrotechnical article or P2 other pyrotechnical article to any person except a person with ‘specialist knowledge’.
It is proposed that the Regulations will consider a person with specialist knowledge to be any individual who can demonstrate having:
• undertaken recognised training, in relation to the type of Category F4 firework/T2 theatrical pyrotechnic article/P2 other pyrotechnic article which is to be made available to that individual; and
• used Category F4 fireworks/T2 theatrical pyrotechnic articles/P2 other pyrotechnic articles; and
• valid liability insurance covering use of Category F4 fireworks/T2 theatrical pyrotechnic articles/P2 other pyrotechnic articles (this may be in the name of an individual or employer).
Furthermore, the Regulations would require that any display where Category 4 fireworks or Category 3 fireworks with a noise of 120 decibels or more were to be used would require a licence from the Parish Connétable.
It is proposed that a person who wishes to operate a firework display and requires a licence would need to apply to the relevant Connétable no later than 21 clear days before the date of the proposed display and pay a prescribed fee.
The draft Regulations include a requirement for an applicant to whom a licence has been granted to publish a notice on two occasions (in a manner to be specified by the Connétable) to bring to the attention of the general public that the display will be taking place.
These limitations on the use of specific categories of fireworks arise from the fact that these fireworks potentially present a greater hazard to safety by their use, but also because they are much louder than other categories.
Additionally, the requirement for those using these types of fireworks to obtain a licence, and to notify the general public of a display, may assist those whose pets or livestock are distressed by fireworks to plan appropriately for this.
As well as the issue of noisy fireworks that this petition specifically addresses, the proposed regulations also contain several other provisions which introduce more robust controls around the use of fireworks, which it is hoped may also serve to limit the disruption caused by fireworks.
The Regulations propose prohibiting the use of Category F2, F3 and F4 fireworks anywhere in Jersey during “night hours.” It is currently proposed that night hours be defined as 11pm to 7am.
This restriction would not apply during a “permitted fireworks night”, which would be during the following periods:
• 11pm to midnight on 5th November
• 11pm on December 31st to 1am on 1st January
• 11pm on the first day of Chinese New Year to 1am on the following day
• 11pm on the day of Diwali to 1am on the following day
The Regulations also propose that general retail premises are only able to sell fireworks at specified times of the year, in accordance with the provisions of a retail licence. These times would be:
• on Liberation Day and the 3 days immediately preceding it;
• on the first day of the Chinese New Year and the 3 days immediately preceding it;
• on the day of Diwali and the 3 days immediately preceding it;
• during the period beginning on the 21st October and ending on the 10th November; or
• during the period beginning on the 26th December and ending on the 31st December;
At other times of the year, fireworks could only be bought by members of the public from a person with specialist knowledge, provided that the person with “specialist knowledge” also possesses a retail licence to sell fireworks outside of the above periods.
It is clear that this is an emotive issue about which there are strong feelings on each side. It is important that any regulations achieve an appropriate balance between the need to minimise distress to pet owners and ensure public safety, with proportionate regulation of the events industry and respect for the rights of islanders to enjoy fireworks as has become a traditional part of certain holidays and events.
It is the Minister’s belief that the proposed regulations achieve this balance by ensuring that an appropriate degree of enhanced regulation is introduced around the use of the noisiest fireworks; and more generally by enhancing controls on the supply, use and possession of fireworks.
The Minister therefore does not support this petition to ban all fireworks other than low noise fireworks, as this does not achieve a proportionate balance between those disturbed by and those who gain enjoyment from the use of fireworks.
Minister for Home Affairs
At 5,000 signatures...
At 5,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in the States Assembly