Concern for whale as fireworks axed
A council is postponing its fireworks display to keep a Beluga whale safe.
Dubbed Benny, the Arctic mammal appeared thousands of miles from home in the River Thames off Shorne Marshes, Gravesend, last month.
His appearance has drawn in crowds from miles around and it looks as if Benny may be here for the long run.
His residence has led Gravesham council, having consulted with the Port of London Authority, to stall its display on Friday, November 2, until the 3.5 metre whale has left.
Fireworks were to be set off from a barge in the Thames.
The environmental advice on the effects of fireworks on or over the river is that they would disturb Benny.
Council leader Cllr David Turner said: “While we are very disappointed at having to postpone the fireworks, we understand the need to keep Benny safe must take priority. Every effort will be made to reschedule this hugely popular event, but a decision cannot be made now as no-one knows how long Benny will remain in residence here.
“While we understand this is also disappointing to the thousands of residents and visitors who enjoy our fantastic fireworks display every year, we have to ensure our special visitor is kept safe and well.”
Gravesham council has been advised that disturbing the whale would be in breach of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
The council has urged people to think twice about having private displays near the river in Gravesend, labelling the mission #KeepBennySafe
Gravesham council has postponed its annual fireworks display almost a month after Benny the Beluga appeared