Thursday, 24 January 2019

Ban the bangs in fireworks

Ban the bangs in fireworks

THE Henley Standard is this week launching a new campaign to encourage the use of quiet fireworks.

The Ban the Bangs initiative is in response to an appeal by Wargrave woman Jane Foddy, who says the loud noise made by some fireworks can be distressing to animals, children and even former military personnel.

It is designed to encourage organisers of formal displays to use quiet fireworks and to discourage people from staging informal displays of their own at home.

Mrs Foddy became aware of the effect noisy fireworks can have when her dog Teddy ran away from home for several hours after being frightened by a firework bang.

She spoke to other pet owners who reported similar problems and is now urging everyone to be more responsible. Mrs Foddy, a PR consultant, said: “It’s almost antisocial behaviour to cause these loud bangs... if people realised the trauma fireworks cause when you can get quiet ones it might do the trick.”

In the build-up to Bonfire Night, we will be featuring pet owners, veterans and others who have been affected by loud fireworks talking about their experiences. We will also speak to display organisers, fireworks manufacturers, politicians, animals charities and organisations such as the Royal British Legion and National Farmers’ Union.

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 There is a number of public displays in and around Henley each year, including at Phyllis Court Club, off Marlow Road, and the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed, as well as in nearby towns and villages including Caversham, Sonning, Wargrave and Pangbourne.

Henley also has a traditional summer fireworks event which dates back 125 years and is traditionally held on the eve of finals day at Henley Royal Regatta. Many of these displays use traditional fireworks, some of which can emit loud bangs as they detonate or screech and whistle when they are set off.

As well as the emotional effect this can have on animals and vulnerable people, there are potential physical implications.

The sale of fireworks in the UK is restricted to those measuring 120 decibels or less, which is also the pain threshold for sound listed by the World Health Organisation.

In other countries, fireworks can reach 170 decibels or more, enough to cause hearing loss.

Most suppliers now offer quiet displays, which use fireworks that emit less sound rather than the traditional “big bang” variety.

No display is totally silent, as all fireworks emit some sort of sound, but quiet displays are usually well below the 120 decibel limit.

• Anyone who has experienced problems with loud fireworks should call Henley Standard reporter Jamie Presland on (01491) 419444 or email jpresland@henleystandard.co.uk

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