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Council plan to ban fireworks from town

FOLLOWING THE backlash against the distress caused to thousands of pets and other animals and their owners – not to mention many other individuals – a local councillor is calling on his local authority to licence the sale and purchase of fireworks.

Conservative councillor Graham Murphy has sent copies of his petition to all 56 members of Peterborough City Council, as well as the local MP, health centres and veterinary surgeries to call upon the PCC to instigate a by-law limiting the sale of fireworks to license holders only.

If such a by-law could be passed by Peterborough and be enforced, then councillor Murphy believes that similar local laws could be enacted within other towns and cities round the UK, in the absence of any legislation by the Government, which so far seems to fail to recognise the scale of the problem.

"This is a new initiative that will set a precedent for the rest of the country," said Mr Murphy, 38. "It is a self-measuring exercise insofar that if the problem of misuse of Fireworks does not diminish significantly - as I'm sure most people are aware it will never be completely eradicated - it can be seen with little effort that if the measures taken are not working, then the next step will be to go for an all out ban.

"So far I've sent a petition to all 56 Councillors of the PCC, all the city libraries all PCC housing offices the local MP and the prospective Parliamentary Candidate. I'm now seeking Vets and Health centres to accept a petition. Every time a letter comes to the local newspaper about fireworks, I write back to the author with a petition."

Councillor Murphy’s petition was applauded by campaigner Teresa Kulkarni. As reported in last week’s issue of OUR DOGS, Miss Kulkarni has set up her own website for an ongoing petition calling on the Government to ban the retail sale of fireworks with the exception of licensed displays only. The petition will run until January 30th 2003, and, as of 2nd January 2003 has attracted over 40,000 signatures from people all over the UK. This figure is climbing each day as more and more people are registering their protest.

"I became actively involved in the issue after seeing how my own animals suffer," says Miss Kulkarni, 37 from King’s Lynn, Norfolk. "Also, working in a pet shop I get to hear how other people’s pets suffer thanks to fireworks also. I have two dogs and one cat, all of which are terrified of fireworks and it’s sheer hell for several weeks of the year. It’s not just Bonfire Night nowadays, its Dhiwali, New Year – it’s constant noise and fear for animals and people alike, at all hours of the day and night."

Shocked

Kulkarni adds that she was shocked when she started investigating the horrors of fireworks at just how many incidents involving fireworks are deliberate, with animals and elderly people being the prime targets of abuse.

"A lot of politicians I’ve contacted say that’s it’s all ‘good family fun’," says Kulkarni, "But that is so far removed from the truth – fireworks infringe on people’s rights for miles around.

People are hit by fireworks. Fireworks cause damage to property. Pets are injured and killed by fireworks. People are fed up with fireworks and are demanding that retail sales of fireworks are banned, and that even includes many people who like fireworks, but deplore the mortars and screechers that go off at unsociable hours.

"Councillor Murphy’s idea is a good one and will, I’m sure, prove that action can be taken at local level if the Government won’t take action at national level. He has my full support."

* Teresa Kulkarni’s petition to ban the retail sale of fireworks is open until January 30th 2003 and may be found online at: http://freespace.virgin.net/nicholas.k.

Or write to Ms Kulkarni at: 1 Methuen Avenue, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 4BN. Tel: 01553 775461

*Copies of Councillor Graham Murphy’s petition may be obtained by e-mailing Mr Murphy at: graham.murphy@peterborough.gov.uk or by telephoning: 01733-238953.