Bid to clamp down on sale of fire­works

Rochdale Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Rochda­le­ob­[email protected]­ @RochdaleNews

ACOUNCILLOR is set to call for a clam­p­down on the sale and use of fire­works in the town af­ter warn­ing of the po­ten­tially ‘cat­a­strophic con­se­quences’ if they fall into the wrong hands.

Coun Rina Paolucci in­tends to ta­ble a mo­tion at the next full town hall meet­ing seek­ing sup­port for a ban on pop-up shops – and fire­works to be re­stricted to or­gan­ised events.

The War­dle and West Lit­tle­bor­ough politi­cian said: “Ev­ery year we have is­sues with peo­ple buy­ing bangers for the sole aim of throw­ing them.

“Year on year pop-up shops ap­pear sell­ing cheap, un­li­censed and un­reg­u­lated fire­works.”

“These are dan­ger­ous and put the pub­lic, who buy these in­no­cently, at se­ri­ous risk.

“Fire­works cause un­due dis­tress and up­set to an­i­mals, the el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple and con­tinue to be used well be­fore and af­ter bon­fire night.”

Coun Paolucci said she be­lieves that anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in­volv­ing fire­works has be­come ‘a real is­sue’.

“Not only are peo­ple mis­us­ing and throw­ing them, but also tar­get­ing the po­lice and fire ser­vices,” she added.

“I know that quite a few fire crews have been at­tacked this year.

“I would pre­fer, for the safety of ev­ery­body con­cerned that peo­ple go to or­gan­ised fire dis­plays and that pop-up shops are not al­lowed to sell to the pub­lic.”

On the prospect of venues hav­ing to ob­tain a spe­cial li­cence be­fore hold­ing a dis­play, Coun Paolucci said: “I would like to see that and I would like peo­ple to un­der­stand the rea­sons for it – that we are pro­tect­ing them.”

How the en­force­ment of any new rules would work is un­clear. But last month town hall chiefs voted through a mo­tion which called for the re­stric­tion of the sale and use of Chi­nese lanterns – sug­gest­ing that the rel­e­vant pow­ers would be within the coun­cil’s re­mit.

Coun Paolucci would also like the town hall bosses to call on the gov­ern­ment to review the Fire­works Act, claim­ing it ‘just does not go far enough’. How­ever, the Con­ser­va­tive ac­cepts that her pro­pos­als will not be wel­comed by ev­ery­one – and could meet with some re­sis­tance.

She said: “I would think that some peo­ple would sup­port it and some would not, as they would say it was get­ting rid of the fun fac­tor.

“But when fire­works are mis­used they are not fun. I would be happy for peo­ple to go to or­gan­ised dis­plays, be­cause the con­se­quences of mis­us­ing fire­works is cat­a­strophic.”

Coun Paolucci added: “The coun­cil and the gov­ern­ment are of­ten crit­i­cised for not tak­ing enough steps to pro­tect the pub­lic and put safety as a pri­or­ity – and that is ac­tu­ally what this is – it puts the safety of res­i­dents first.”

The next full meet­ing of Rochdale coun­cil will be on Wed­nes­day, De­cem­ber 12, start­ing at 6pm.

●●Coun Rina Paolucci

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