Luton North MP launches campaign for a new law to toughen up penalties on nuisance fireworks
The Misuse of Fireworks Bill will be presented to Parliament by Sarah Owen tomorrow
A Luton MP will be calling for tougher £1,000 fines for the misuse of fireworks and seeking more support for the police to enforce the rules when she presents a Bill to Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday).
Sarah Owen, Luton North Labour MP, wants a strong new law to clamp down on nuisance fireworks which have been leaving Luton residents frustrated over the last 18 months - with a flurry of complaints about the issue reported by the Luton News once again last week.
As it currently stands, setting off a firework after 11pm is already an offence punishable all the way up to a prison. However, in practice it is dealt with by £90 penalty notices. Continued reports from people across Luton have shown that this £90 fine is not acting as a deterrent against anti-social use of these rockets.
The Luton North MP has a been a consistent campaigner on this issue. Last year, Ms Owen, who is a dog owner herself, was commended by the charity Dogs Trust who thanked her for her work on campaigning for greater restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks.
The Misuse of Fireworks Bill, will be presented to Parliament by Ms Owen and will be co-sponsored by Luton South MP Rachel Hopkins. It will be debated in Parliament on January 21 if it receives the support of the Conservative government. Ms Owen points out that in a 2020 debate in Parliament, a Minister said that the Conservatives “do not consider a ban on fireworks to be an appropriate course of action”.
Ms Owen is keen to hear from local residents about the impact nuisance fireworks are having on people. She plans to put these stories to Ministers directly and encourage them to back her Bill.
Calling for cross-party support, Ms Owen said: “I’m a mum to a wonderful little toddler and a proud owner of my lovely dog Hermann, so I know how much of a nightmare loud, noisy fireworks in the middle of the night have been for people across Luton.”
“I don’t think the current £90 fine for nuisance fireworks in the middle of the night goes far enough to deter people from setting them off constantly. After 11 years of damaging cuts to our local police by the Conservative government in Westminster, I don’t think our police have the resources and support they need to properly enforce the current laws on fireworks.
“I’ve listened to local people, and I hope my Bill makes it through Parliament. I’ve got the support of our other Labour MP in the town Rachel Hopkins, but this new law can only pass through Parliament with the support of the Conservatives and other parties like the Liberal Democrats.”
“I’ll give it everything I’ve got to gain as much support for this law as possible. It’s common sense. I’ll listen to anything people in Luton North have to say about this, and I’ll make sure to put these stories directly to Ministers so please get in touch.”
You can contact her via 01582 488208 or by emailing [email protected]
One of Ms Owen's constituents has also started an online petition to make fireworks silent. See https://www.change.org/Make_fireworks_silent
Kellie Agnew got in touch with the Luton News after our story about nuisance fireworks last week, saying "they really are a big problem and I’m not sure how much my dog can take".
She added: "I started the petition because for at least a year now we have had to suffer fireworks late at night and often in the middle of night, and this is near enough every night not just occasionally.
"As you can imagine it is a huge inconvenience when you have to get up for work and if your pet is anything like mine it is horrendous. My dog is so scared of the bangs that there is no consoling him, he scratches at the floor just trying to find a way out and shakes uncontrollably.
"If fireworks were silent people could still enjoy them as the colours are beautiful but there is no need for the massive bang. I would like at least 10,000 signatures so government see it but 100,000 will get government to debate it."
What's your view... will increased fines work? Should fireworks be silent? Email [email protected]