A LOCAL Councillor has questioned whether Bonfire Night should be confined to the history books after firefighters detailed how this year's celebrations led to violence, pollution and hundreds of call outs.

Baildon Councillor Mike Pollard pointed out that while the celebrations might have been exciting in 1605, the annual event have proved to be a menace in recent years.

At the most recent meeting of West Yorkshire Fire Authority, representatives of the region's five Councils were given an annual report on how emergency services had coped with Bonfire Night 2020 - traditionally the service's busiest time of year.

During the period this year there were 21 attacks on firefighters, including an incident in Bradford where a rocket was launched at firefighter's head.

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Over four nights crews were called out to 399 incidents over four nights, including numerous out of control bonfires.

And the service had to pay £37,982 in overtime to provide enough cover for the Bonfire period.

The report also revealed that a recent study by the University of Leeds found that after Bonfire Night the levels of soot in the air of West Yorkshire's cities is around 100 times the normal level.

Bonfire Night is held every year on November 5 to mark a failed terrorist attack on Parliament in 1605. 

The gunpowder plot was an attempt by a group of English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James and replace him with a Catholic head of state.

At the Fire Authority meeting Cllr Pollard (Cons, Baildon) said: "Councillors across the District are making worthy noises about the climate emergency, then we read that after Bonfire night there is 100 times the normal level of soot in the atmosphere.

"Is it time, in our view, to call for all fireworks sales not for organised events to be banned?

"I seriously think we are getting to the point where this event, that might have been particularly exciting in 1605, should stop being celebrated.

"It is a menace, and an inappropriate use of resources."

Dave Teggart, Area Manager, said the service always urged people to attend organised bonfire events, rather than buying their own fireworks. He added: "Asking that firework sales are banned is something we could potentially start to look at, but there are commercial reasons why other people may disagree with that."

Councillor Fozia Shaheen (Lab, Toller) pointed out that many shops were open and selling fireworks even during the recent second lockdown - when only essential retailers were supposed to stay open.

Chris Kemp, senior fire protection manager, pointed out possible pitfalls of banning firework sales.

He said currently sellers have to have a licence to prove their fireworks are stored safely. If they were banned, he added: "There would be a black market for fireworks. It would be likely that any storage of fireworks would go underground. That would create a risk of fire fighters entering premises where they are not aware fireworks are being stored."

Councillor Steve Tulley, chair of the committee, said: "Fireworks are the bane of my life. The big concern is the attacks on our firefighters. It is a disgrace that anyone does that. Let's hope the full force of the law comes down on them."