A private member's Bill to tighten controls on the sale, use and storage of fireworks was given an unopposed second reading in the lords.
The measure was introduced in the commons by Bill Tynan, Labour MP for Hamilton South. Steering it through the lords, Baroness Ramsay said that a recent reportfrom the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities had exposed the inadequacy of the current system of controlling fireworks and set out the main issues concerning members of the public.
'Fireworks are part of celebrations for religious festivals as well as personal celebrations such as weddings and birthdays, and there are no formal decibel limits. There is also a disturbing increase in what can be called anti-social and even criminal use to destroy property and harm to people and animals.'
Injuries from fireworks, after a decrease, showed that over the past five years figures were rapidly rising towards their previous peak.
The Bill, she said, was supported by many animal welfare organisations and the British Medical Association, who said the Bill was a necessary public health measure. The BMA hoped its provisions would help 'to prevent the needless pain and misery of those suffering injury each year from the misuse of fireworks.'
In addition, added, Baroness Ramsay, the Bill was supported by the Trades Union Congress, the National Farmers Union, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents - and, significantly, three groups representing the fireworks industry: the British Fireworks Association, the British Pyrotechnics Association, and the Explosives Industry Group of the Confederation of British Industry.
She continued: 'The Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers Associat ion expressed concern about the increasing misuse of fireworks and about the need to strengthen the current system. Indeed, it offered its support for the Bill. The Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards voiced particular concerns about problems of storage and supply.'
The Bill now goes to a lords committee. It appears unlikely there will be a move to block the Bill becoming law.
Hansard 4 June 2003: Column 1171- 1193