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House of Commons Petitions Committee report on fireworks

November 05, 2019

Events such as bonfire night aren’t events that are celebrated by everyone. For people with conditions such as M.E./CFS it can be a very distressing and difficult time. Earlier this year in May we responded to an inquiry by the House of Commons Petitions Committee about fireworks and its effect on people with disability. In our response, we highlighted and suggested that:

  • people with M.E. may have an intolerance towards light and noise
  • there should be tighter regulations and enforcement of the time frame in which fireworks can be set off. Whilst current regulations exist, they are very difficult to enforce
  • there should be tighter regulations around the decibel level produced by some fireworks.

Today, the House of Commons Petitions Committee have published their report, which has identified groups of people who can be particularly badly affected by fireworks, including anxiety disorders; cerebral palsy; dementia; epilepsy; fibromyalgia; myalgic encephalomyelitis; and multiple sclerosis.

In this report they state that “there is very clear evidence that loud unexpected noise from fireworks has severe and distressing effects on people with a range of health conditions and disabilities.” Amongst their concerns was that the use of fireworks contributed to already existing feelings of isolation and an exacerbation of symptoms.

The committee have suggested a number of recommendations for the government to consider including:

  • the Government needs to look at the decibel level limit of consumer fireworks.
  • the Government should work with local authorities to create a revenue-neutral, mandatory permit system for fireworks displays, where local evidence suggests this is necessary.
  • the Government should fund and coordinate a national awareness campaign on the responsible use of fireworks.

You can learn more about this report on the House of Commons Website.