The National Campaign for Firework Safety welcomed the United Kingdom's Noise Association's Noise Survey released recently on Noise Awareness Day. The UKNA survey of MP's showed firework noise to be top, with 50% saying firework noise was a main concern.
Noel Tobin, Director of the NCFS, "This confirms the findings of our own survey, which is to be released in June. Noise from fireworks is a major issue. Not only to humans, but to animals as well."
The 'Firework 2002' survey goes on to say, "But now there is a new phenomenon, firework noise. At present there is no upper limit on the noise a firework can make. There is enough evidence to show animals do not like fireworks because of the sheer noise they make. The RSPCA has brought out an excellent report entitled 'Quiet Please, loud fireworks frighten animals'. They looked at the problem of animals and firework noise and recommended a maximum of 95dB (A)I. This they decided would cause the least damage to animals.
The current Fireworks Bill, is beginning its passage through parliament. One of the clauses, 2 (2) (b), refers to 'distress' to animals. It is easier to measure the physical distress an animal suffers when a firework causes physical damage. But how shall we determine the mental 'distress' animals suffer. There is evidence to show animals do suffer 'distress' from the noise fireworks make. It is time a maximum level of noise was set for every firework.
There is a difference between a firework of 120dB(A)I being set-off in the middle of a firework display, where it's noise may not be so noticeable amongst the tumult, but, it will have a different response, when discharged in the dead of night.
Many people say they can feel the house shake with the vibration during noisy firework discharges. In August came this rather disturbing report,
'A structural expert claims vibrations from fireworks celebrations are damaging Edinburgh's old buildings. Arnold Hendry believes the tonnes of explosives used to mark the Edinburgh Festival, Hogmanay and military Tattoo are dislodging pieces of masonry. Leisure chief, Councillor Steve Cardownie, is backing calls for an investigation into the impact of fireworks.
If there is a case to be made, for saying loud fireworks damage buildings over a long period of time, then who should pay for the costs of repairing these buildings. Until we know for certain that loud explosive fireworks of the category 4 nature, as used in Edinburgh's celebrations, do not cause damage then limiting the 'explosive' type fireworks should be a priority.