A REVIEW has found that the use of fireworks is causing misery for many Bradford residents - but acknowledges that without changes to existing law, tackling the issue could be an "impossible task."

It was decided to hold a Scrutiny Review into firework use, carried out by Bradford Councillors and officers, due to years of complaints about fireworks being set off in streets and all hours of the day.

The review has now been completed, and will be discussed at a meeting of Bradford Council's Corporate Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, where members will be told that firework "celebrations" are happening on a more regular basis, and are not just linked to events like Bonfire Night or New Year's Eve.

Among the suggestions are that the Council introduces "public space protection orders" to prevent firework use in certain areas, lobby local MPs to push for changes to national law, and review planning and licensing rules to clamp down on venues that allow fireworks to be set off.

The review saw councillors speak with police, the fire service, RSPCA, Trading Standards and 92 residents of the District.

The report says: "Local residents have expressed serious concerns about nuisance fireworks, across their neighbourhoods. Large fireworks celebrations now appear to be happening more often throughout the year during the day and night, with the loud noise causing distress to people across the District."

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Members heard that Council staff in some areas have had fireworks launched at them while working, meaning they have required a police escort to carry out their jobs at certain times of year.

The review looked at wedding venues in Bradford - wedding events are often seen as one of the main causes for fireworks being set off. It says: "even though some venues did not allow for fireworks to be used on their property, they could not stop individuals from going onto the highway to use fireworks which caused nuisance."

Members felt that environmental health laws, which can be used to prevent rowdy venues from blighting neighbours' lives, should be used more often to deal with venues that have been consistently linked to anti-social firework use.

The RSPCA told members that fireworks proved to be a huge problem, causing distress to not just domestic pets but also livestock.

The review says: "Members heard of one example where a Shetland Pony was so distressed and ended up strangling itself.

"The RSPCA said that fireworks should actually be banned, as they had experienced far too many animals being killed or destroyed as a result of the use of fireworks."

West Yorkshire Trading Standards officers told the review that Bradford was a "hotspot" for complaints about the sale of fireworks to children - with most of the complaints of this nature relating to the District.

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The review adds: "Members were concerned to learn that individuals are required to have a licence to demonstrate that they are a fit and proper person to sell products such as alcohol and tobacco; however even though a licence is required to store fireworks in a safe manner, individuals do not need to have a licence which demonstrates that they are a fit and proper person to sell fireworks."

The review says that although some actions could be taken, unless there is a change in law, there is little that could be done to fully tackle the issue. It adds: "Regards to the legislation it is very difficult to stop existing shops selling fireworks; it’s difficult to stop people buying fireworks online, it’s also difficult to catch individuals who are setting off such powerful fireworks and to enforce against them, as this would require having noise measuring equipment to be in place at the event and there are not enough officers in place to be at all weddings.

"Most venues don’t have licences, so people are setting fireworks off outside of the venues on the public highway; most individuals are also setting off fireworks in their private gardens, so it’s not just an issue for the use of fireworks at venues; therefore it appears to be an impossible task to follow the legislative route with any meaningful impact and therefore if you cannot enable people to change their behaviour, it is unclear as to how to make a sufficient enough impact on this agenda, through current legislation."

One recommendation made by the review is that local MPs lobby Government to reduce the noise levels of all categories of fireworks, stop the sale of the more powerful fireworks, to licence individuals who want to sell fireworks and instigate a Private Members Bill to discuss the licensing, planning and legislation arrangements in place, relating to fireworks.

The second is to "consider extending its use of Public Space Protection Space Orders, in areas across the District where noise from the use of fireworks is particularly high."

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The third is for "Officers from the Council’s Licensing and Planning team be asked to explore considering the planning and licensing rules for existing and new events venues, in relation to the use of fireworks on their premises.

The fourth calls for a"a multi-agency approach which should include but not be limited to Bradford Council, Fire Service, Police and Trading Standards to tackling the inappropriate use of fireworks across the District." This would include consider exploring and promoting the use of noiseless or low noise fireworks, run campaigns warning people against anti-social firework use and increase the number of organised firework events across the District.

The Council should also make "greater use of environmental legislation to tackle the use of fireworks at commercial premises."

Councillor Nazam Azam, Chair of the Committee, said: "We know that fireworks on special occasions can be used responsibly by sensible adults particularly at well-run public events at reasonable times of the day, but too often fireworks are let off at unsociable times and in an antisocial manner and it is this that needs to be tackled.

"We will work hard with our partners to ensure that we take action following this report to reduce this nuisance use for neighbourhoods, animals and pets. But national Government also needs to step up.”