- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2016

The British Parliament debated an online petition pushing for stricter regulation of amateur fireworks, but the Conservative government declined to take further action, despite one MP from the majority party calling for a ban of the “rubbish” homemade displays.

While the petition brought to Parliament called for “fireworks use by the general public to be permitted on traditional celebration dates only,” Philip Hollobone, a Conservative MP from Kettering, urged going much further, the BBC reported Tuesday.

“I think there’s great merit in saying all fireworks displays need to be licensed with a licensed operator, and frankly, amateur family-organized fireworks displays in people’s back gardens are basically rubbish,” Mr. Hollobone said, the BBC reported.

Fellow Conservative MP Jo Johnson disagreed.

“It is likely that those who already use fireworks in an antisocial or inconsiderate way would not be deterred by further regulation,” said Mr. Johnson, the government’s Minister of State for Universities and Science. “Restrictions in use could lead to a drop in legitimate sales, leading to job losses not only in the firework industry but independent and associated businesses.”

After a period of debate, the government decided not to pursue further regulation.

“We are aware that fireworks can cause distress to animals,” reads the official government response on Parliament’s petition website. “Restrictions on the general public’s use of fireworks, and permitted noise levels, already exist and we have no plans to extend them.”

According to a U.K. government website, under current law, amateurs are restricted from setting off fireworks between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., with a few exceptions for certain holidays pushing the deadline an hour or two later. Local council restrictions may also apply regarding the setting off of fireworks, but there appear to be no national regulations requiring licensing for displays.

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