Petition Make fireworks with a ‘bang’ illegal in Jersey to prevent the stress of animals.
It is possible to enjoy the beauty of fireworks without the ‘bang’ which causes unnecessary stress and pain to innocent animals across the island.
We can still enjoy the spectacular visuals of fireworks without the big noise which torments lovely animals.
This response was given on 9 December 2022
The Minister would like to see greater controls on the availability of fireworks and will bring proposals to that effect in the form of revised regulations during her term of office.
The current situation
Pyrotechnic devices (fireworks) are divided into four categories of increasing size, from ‘F1’, including indoor fireworks and sparklers etc, to large display fireworks in category ‘F4’. This classification is based on the hazard that each type of firework poses to the public. That hazard assessment does not rely upon the volume of noise generated as there is no maximum volume for each category. The single point of limitation is that the maximum permitted volume for any firework available to the public is 120 decibels (dB).
Currently, members of the public can purchase fireworks in a wide range of sizes and types from category F1 to F3 for several weeks per year in the run-up to bonfire night.
Jersey imports fireworks almost exclusively from the UK, which does not distinguish between fireworks by decibel level (although all items meet the 120dB max criteria). Although it is reasonable to assume that F3 fireworks will be louder than F1, there is no rule that this must be the case. In addition, where fireworks are packaged together (such as in a selection box), they are likely to be a mix of loud, quiet and silent types designed to offer a range of experience. There is no standardised labelling or categorisation to distinguish between loud, quieter and silent fireworks.
Effect of ban
It is therefore unlikely that any ban on fireworks over a specific level of noise could be enforced without banning most publicly available types. There may also be limitations on what ‘spectacular visuals’ can be achieved without generating an audible explosion to distribute pyrotechnic material .
Some retailers do offer a restricted range of ‘low noise’ fireworks. However, ‘quiet’, ‘low noise’ and ‘silent’ are not recognised terms in the relevant legislation in the UK or Jersey, so although ‘silent fireworks’ typically have a lower noise level of 70dB to 90dB, in reality these terms offer no certainty about the noise generated.
Before the pandemic the Government of Jersey published a consultation on proposed Regulations to be made under the Explosives (Jersey) Law 2014. The Minister has committed to bring those Regulations forward in her Ministerial Plan. These Regulations would modernise arrangements relating to the importation, manufacture, storage, possession, supply, retail, use, transport and export of fireworks and other pyrotechnic articles.
The proposed Regulations would strengthen controls on the supply, possession and use of fireworks, but as drafted they do not make specific distinction between quiet and loud fireworks for the reasons above.
Therefore, while the Minister shares the concerns of the petitioners in relation to the inconvenience and distress that noisy fireworks can cause to vulnerable people and animals, she cannot support this petition, as there is no clear mechanism to allow ‘loud’ fireworks to be banned.
However, although she considers that a balance must be found between the right of people and animals to peaceful enjoyment and the right of individuals to celebrate events, there is certainly a strong argument that current regulatory arrangements are insufficient, and she does not support the current permissive arrangements for the direct sale of fireworks to the public.
She would like to see greater controls on the availability of fireworks, especially the larger and (most likely) louder types and will bring proposals to that effect in the form of revised Regulations during her term of office.
• Category F1 fireworks are intended for use in a closed space, including fireworks intended for use outside residential buildings
• Category F2 fireworks are intended for use outside residential buildings in a closed space
• Category F3 fireworks are intended for use outside residential buildings in a large open space
• Category F4 fireworks are exclusively intended for persons with specialised knowledge, often called "fireworks for professional usage".
At 5,000 signatures...
At 5,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in the States Assembly