CBTR3010018

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					                               PART 1                 ITEM NO.
                               (OPEN TO THE PUBLIC)
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REPORT OF THE LEAD MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES
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TO THE CABINET
ON 30TH OCTOBER 2001
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TITLE: FIREWORK SAFETY
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RECOMMENDATIONS: THE APPROPRIATE ORGANISATIONS BE
LOBBIED
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
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BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS: (available for public inspection)
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CONTACT OFFICER: D. HIGGINSON TEL NO: 793 2076
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WARD(S) TO WHICH REPORT RELATE(S) ALL
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KEY COUNCIL POLICIES : CRIME AND DISORDER
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DETAILS (continued overleaf)
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SUBJECT: FIREWORKS

BACKGROUND

The Control of Fireworks is achieved by the Explosives Act 1875 and
subsequent legislation. The actual enforcement of the various provisions is
split between various agencies and varies in different parts of the country.
In Salford the enforcement agencies are:-

1. Greater Manchester Fire Service
   This body is responsible for the registration of premises to store fireworks,
   normally retail premises with quantities not exceeding 250kg being stored.
   In addition there is a maximum quantity of 50kg which can be kept in a
   room to which the public have access. At present there does not appear to


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      be any means of refusing registration. The only course of action is in
      respect of not storing in accordance with statutory requirements. In most
      parts of the country it is the Trading Standards Service who is responsible
      for the registration of premises. It is only in the metropolitan districts where
      the fire service undertakes this role.


2. Trading Standards
   The service is responsible for ensuring that fireworks are not sold to
   children apparently under the age of 18. In addition the service is
   responsible for ensuring that certain categories and types of fireworks are
   not sold to the general public. These include bangers, mini rockets, aerial
   shells and maroons and category 4 fireworks. The service ensures that the
   fireworks conform to the British Standard.

3. Greater Manchester Police
   The problem of anti social behaviour such as the throwing or letting off of
   fireworks in the street or public places is controlled by section 80 of the
   Explosives Act 1875. The police enforce this provision of the Act. In
   addition they enforce the prohibition of selling, handling or exposing for
   sale fireworks in a public place or street.

4. Health and Safety Executive
   The Health and Safety Executive are the body which controls the
   manufacture and importation of explosives. In addition they classify them
   into the various classifications. The Health and Safety Executives also
   licence the large stores of explosives. In Salford this is with the assent of
   the Fire Service.

CURRENT ISSUES

There are currently a number of issues relating to fireworks.

 a)        The letting off of fireworks in public places can cause a nuisance
           especially when the more powerful ones are involved. Although this is
           a police matter it must be appreciated that it is very difficult to
           apprehend children in the act of letting off the fireworks. It can also be
           dangerous for a member of the public to try to restrain such children.
           The police have a difficult problem in allocating resources and it is not
           known where this problem rates in their priorities.

b)         The sale of fireworks to underage children has been a problem for a
           number of years and in an attempt to address this situation the Trading
           Standards Service in Salford have in the past conducted programmes
           of test purchases. This has been undertaken by asking children
           obviously under 18 to try to purchase fireworks. This operation is very
           closely controlled and in line with the appropriate Home Office
           guidelines. There have been a number of occasions when fireworks
           have been sold and the appropriate legal action taken. However this
           year due to staffing level problems, due to staff leaving and the inability


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           to recruit a replacement Trading Standards Officer it will not be
           possible to conduct such a survey. The Fire Service provides a list of
           premises which have registered each year and all these sellers receive
           a letter pointing out the legal requirements together with a trader
           guidance leaflet. This pack has been sent out this year.

c)         The Size of the Fireworks
           Fireworks are categorised according to the risk they pose and their
           size. This is done in accordance of the requirements set out in B.S.
           7114.

           i)          CATEGORY 1
                       When used according to the instructions, these fireworks should
                       not cause injury to people standing 1 meter or more away and
                       should not cause damage to property. In the case of hand held
                       fireworks, the persons holding them should not be injured. This
                       type of firework is generally known as indoor fireworks, but
                       includes such items as party poppers, caps for toy guns,
                       throwndowns and sparklers.

           ii)         CATEGORY 2
                       When used according to the instructions, these fireworks should
                       not cause injury to people standing 5 meter or more away. In the
                       case of handheld sparklers etc person holding them should not
                       be injured by the dropping of hot slag or the ejection of sparks.
                       The fuse fitted to the firework should enable the person lighting
                       the firework to retire safely to a distance of at least 5 meters.
                       These fireworks are commonly known as garden fireworks and
                       include the general fireworks used including rockets, fountains
                       and roman candles.

           iii)        CATEGORY 3
                       When used according to the instructions these fireworks should
                       not cause injury to people standing 25 meters or more away.
                       People setting these fireworks off would be expected to wear
                       suitable protection. These fireworks are commonly known as
                       display fireworks and this causes some confusion with category
                       4 fireworks which should only be used by professionals in
                       displays.

           iv)         CATEGORY 4
                       These fireworks are not covered by BS7114 but are the larger
                       ones which fall outside category 3 and can include those types
                       which are prohibited from sale to the general public including
                       bangers.
                       The actual physical size of the firework is not the factor in
                       categorising the item, it is the risk it presents. It is now becoming
                       more common for large number of roman candles to be included
                       in an outer case and could contain over one hundred individual
                       fireworks. The effect produced by this type of firework could


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                       either be visual and or aerial, yet these fireworks are normally
                       category 3.

                       It is known that criminal elements from Salford have had dealing
                       with an importer in the Bury area. It has been alleged that these
                       people have demanded payment by way of fireworks for
                       services rendered. Initially this was refused and a confrontation
                       arose which involved the Police, Heath and Safety Executive
                       and Trading Standards. This appears to have been resolved but
                       the means are as yet unknown.

                       Bury Trading Standards have been involved with this importer in
                       ensuring that no unsafe fireworks are sold. In 2000 they
                       sampled and had tested a number of different types of fireworks
                       all of which were found to be safe.

THE FUTURE

At present the Health & Safety Executives are currently reviewing the
explosives legislation. Drafts of the proposals have been received and
comments were made by this authority on 19th February 2001, to the Local
Government Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and also to the Local
Authorities Co Ordinating Body on Food and Trading Standards.

The main issues raised in the comments are:-

    Future regulations need to be clearer on the suitability of fireworks stores
     which are close to other buildings especially housing.
    Any registration or licensing scheme should revert to local authorities in
     the metropolitan areas. This will be consistent with other areas of the
     country. There is also concern with the levels of inspection currently being
     undertaken by the Fire Service. This authority currently inspects premises
     on a risk rating scheme which would also apply to premises storing
     fireworks.
    There should be a strong reporting requirement between the Health and
     Safety Executive and Local Authorities.
    There should be planning requirements which would control the location of
     stores.
    The question of separation distances between stores and other property
     need to be as stringent as possible.
    Registration of private property should not be permitted. The regulations
     regarding the sale from shops within residential properties should be more
     tightly regulated.
    In all cases a risk assessment should be carried out before storage of
     fireworks is permitted.
    There should be a more positive approach to the registration/licensing
     system rather than the passive one which currently allows any applicant to
     be registered.
    There should be a review of how fireworks are categorised and common
     terminology should be used.


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      The storage should be sufficient to safely and physical accept the
       permitted quantity.
      The handling of fireworks can be dangerous and so anybody permitted to
       store fireworks should have the skills and expertise. It should be a
       condition that adequate training has been received before storage is
       permitted.
      There should be a means of logging in and out of fireworks. This type of
       inventory would assist where fireworks are being used improperly or
       outside the conditions of the licence.
      The regulations should clearly distinguish between the storage of fireworks
       and the gathering together of fireworks for the assembly of displays etc,
       which are more to do with manufacture and should therefore be subject to
       much stricter controls.

RECOMMENDATIONS

      That Health and Safety Executive be contacted to ascertain the progress
       with the review and establish when the official consultation will take place.
      Lobby local MP’s to press for changes in the legislation on the grounds of
       :-

i)         Distress and nuisance caused
ii)        Larger fireworks are now more common
iii)       Consistency of enforcement
iv)        Stricter controls of the storage of fireworks.




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