Fireworks bring New Year misery

AN ALMOST daily torment is being waged on the people of Ipswich, as bangers are set off in the streets months after Bonfire Night. Explosions on November 5 and New Year's Eve are tolerated and enjoyed by many, but fireworks are now plaguing the lives of Ipswich residents throughout the year.

By Tracey Sparling

AN ALMOST daily torment is being waged on the people of Ipswich, as bangers are set off in the streets months after Bonfire Night.

Explosions on November 5 and New Year's Eve are tolerated and enjoyed by many, but fireworks are now plaguing the lives of Ipswich residents throughout the year.

Even the New Year's Eve, privately-organised displays started well before 10am and lasted through until 12.30am, seeming louder than ever before.


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Today we bring you the latest Star story to highlight the misery caused by inconsiderate youngsters setting off bangers– a problem we reported on back in November when one resident said living in Ipswich sounded 'somewhat similar to living in a battlefield.'

A poll on The Evening Star's website showed an overwhelming majority of people are in favour of restricting fireworks to November 5.

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Yet fireworks were still being set off throughout the day in Lower Brook Street, on Monday .

Police also received a complaint from a worried resident in Whitton Church Lane the same day.

Officers went to investigate, but couldn't hear anything.

It is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under 18 years of age, or supply the general public with certain powerful fireworks, including: flash-bangers, Chinese Crackers and fireworks with erratic flight, all bangers and mini-rockets.

There were almost 1,000 firework-related injuries in 2001, and a study in 1997 found that one in three firework injuries in England, were due to hooliganism.

Animals suffer too, and Helen Conway of the RSPCA shop in Carr Street has extended the closing date for a local branch of a regional petition to out an end to public sale of fireworks, in a bid to stop disturbed nights throughout the year. The petition is being led in King's Lynn - where more than 26,000 have signed up - and will be sent to the Prime Minister after January 30.

She said as many as ten people visit just to sign the petition, and added: "Fireworks are becoming a really big problem. In the past people used to do fireworks like Catherine Wheels in their gardens, but now they all want the biggest and best.

"I reckon we must have well over 1,000 signatures now – everybody of all ages, not just animal lovers.

"Everybody has stories of how they have woken up frightened. People are absolutely sick of it.

"The feeling is that we don't want to spoil anyone's fun, but after tea on Monday there was a firework display going on in the Broomhill area in someone's garden and it wasn't even New Year's Eve.

"One lady told me a rocket went through her greenhouse in November."

Animals' suffering is also prolonged when bangers are exploded throughout the year.

A poll commissioned by the RSPCA shows 71 per cent of those questioned thought loud fireworks should only be allowed at public displays.

In 2001, 4,825 animals were treated for firework-related injuries or were prescribed sedatives because they were so frightened.

A total of 16 animals were put to sleep because of their injuries and three animals were believed to be the victims of deliberate attacks.

The maximum penalty for selling fireworks to persons apparently under the age of 18, and for throwing or discharging a firework in a street or public place is now a £5,000 fine.

The borough council's pollution services department is currently drawing up a code of conduct for this year which will inform residents how they can enjoy fireworks without causing too much annoyance to their neighbours.

Weblinks:

www.eveningstar.co.uk

www.fire.org.uk/firework

Surveys by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs show that outdoor noise levels have not increased during the past decade. But eight per cent of those questioned said that noise spoils their home life, and many more suffer regular disturbances.

32 million people in the UK are exposed to high levels of noise, according to Government figures.

It is estimated that 2.5 million people live in homes with bad sound insulation.

Noise harms more than our ears. Studies have correlated noise with physiological changes in sleep pattern, blood pressure and digestion.

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