Sarah Owen (Luton North) (Lab)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
I am grateful to present my Bill for Second Reading. I appreciate fireworks’ beauty, as we all do—how they can light up the sky and add magic and awe to our special occasions. I am here not to spoil the fun of fireworks, but to bring forward some common sense solutions that I hope the Government will take on board.
There is a harmful side to fireworks that must be addressed and challenged. We have spoken before in the House about the fire safety hazards, their use as weapons, and the extreme nuisance that the noise can create, but the Government are yet to bring in any meaningful regulations. We have a debate almost every year about the nuisance of fireworks, yet regulations have not followed.
In the Bill, I call on the Government to show compassion to the communities affected by the relentless use of noisy fireworks by committing to limit the volume of fireworks, increase the minimum fine for the misuse of fireworks, review the laws around the licensing of sellers, and consult with relevant charities to ensure that their reforms are informed and effective. Last year, more than 300,000 of our constituents signed a petition calling for Government restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks. One of my residents in Luton North started a petition to make fireworks silent, while more than 13,000 people signed a similar petition on the Government website to call for quieter fireworks. That is where I will start.
The current decibel limit for fireworks is 120 dB. I am not sure that many people could say exactly how loud that is, so to put it into perspective, the legal sound limit for a rock concert is 107 dB. I am painfully aware how old it makes me sound to say “rock concert”, but that is how it is described. A Formula 1 race typically reaches 140 dB. One of the loudest ever recorded sounds is a volcanic explosion that reached 172 dB. The pain threshold for humans is breached by anything above 130 dB, yet our limit for legal firework noise sits between that and a rock concert. That simply does not make sense.