FIREWORK displays are fun. At their best, they are spectacular and entrancing, painting magical pictures in the sky.

Some displays, such as the New Year fireworks in London and other capital cities around the world, are genuinely exciting and memorable.

As a child, I can remember many back-garden displays where the box of Standard fireworks bought from the local shop would be set off by dads or uncles, with whirling Catherine Wheels nailed to the garden fence and rockets launched from milk bottles buried in the flower borders at the end of the lawn.

Of course, as we grew older, we children demanded bigger and more exciting displays and community events became the annual go-to for Bonfire Night pyrotechnics.

Nowadays, only the smallest children are satisfied with family fireworks, while even nations now compete to see who can put on the biggest and best display to mark the start of a new year.

But, as fireworks themselves have become increasingly dramatic, they have also become louder, which can make them extremely anti-social, especially if used at the wrong times.

Illegal displays are now rife in many parts of the district. In some areas they are so prolific that it led to some residents complaining to the Telegraph & Argus this week after suffering late-night noise almost every night for several weeks.

One resident of Little Horton, Ihsan Khan, said it was “making life hell” for him and his neighbours and another, Alan Clegg, of Leeds Road, said the area sounded “like a war zone” late at night.

The law is clear in that it is illegal for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on specific occasions: Bonfire Night, when the hours are extended to midnight, and New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali, when they can be set off up to 1am.

Using or selling fireworks illegally carries a fine of up to £5,000 and imprisonment for up to six months but the problem, as usual, is that it is difficult and costly to enforce the regulations. By the time a complaint is made and officers arrive the evidence has, literally, gone up in smoke.

No-one wants to spoil people’s fun but if the perpetrators insist on showing such lack of respect for their neighbours and fellow citizens then it’s time to look at more creative measures to rein them in.

Other countries, of course, do not celebrate Bonfire Night and many restrict the sale of fireworks to around New Year. In Norway, for instance, fireworks are only on sale for one four-day period a year and can only be let off between 6pm and 2am on New Year’s Eve.

In the United States, the laws vary state by state but two of them, Delaware and Massachusetts, completely ban the sale and use of all consumer fireworks, including sparklers. Another, Illinois, allows sparklers and nothing else.

There are 16 states, including New York and California, where they allow the sale and use only of “non-aerial” and “non-explosive” fireworks.

It is, perhaps, no surprise that many of the states with the laxest gun laws also have the least-restrictive firework regulations…

It shouldn’t be beyond the abilities of modern science to create spectacular fireworks that concentrate on visual excitement rather than noise (“quiet” fireworks are already available in some countries).

The really big, loud and powerful fireworks could then be restricted to organised, public displays where safety is the first priority and more effort can be put into providing the visual feast we all demand at a time when the noise will be both acceptable and anticipated.

The rarity of such events, around those dates when the law permits fireworks to be let off outside of the normal restrictions, should make them all the more enjoyable while helping to deal with the growing plague of illegal displays in many parts of the district.

At their worst, fireworks can be dangerous and even lethal. We shouldn’t allow them to be divisive and disruptive as well.


THE Friends of Bradford Beck deserve a pat on the back for their efforts to clean up the city’s waterways.

Yorkshire Water has spent a great deal of money in recent years on improving some of our big-ticket sewage facilities and storm drains but there is clearly a long way to go to ensure our waterways are clean and pollution free.

The Friends’ recording of 33 separate pollution incidents at 14 separate sites over a six-month period is very valuable evidence of the need for action and must be taken seriously to prevent the problem growing.


THE tightening of security at this year’s Bingley Music Live should be welcomed by all following the atrocity after the Ariana Grande concert, in Manchester, in May.

But there will, rightly, be huge disappointment at the decision to get tough on re-admission policies.

The majority of outdoor music festivals take place in big open spaces in the countryside and one big reason such an event is tolerated so close to Bingley town centre is the spin-off trade it brings for local businesses.

Surely those who leave the park to enjoy local facilities by choice will be more than happy to endure extra security on their return?

If the real reason is a threat to the revenue from food stalls within the event that needs to be made clear so local people can decide if it’s a price they wish to pay in future.