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Thousands tell PM: ‘ban firework sales’


Theresa Kulkarni hands the petition in to No.10 Downing Street,
accompanied by North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham,
Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski and Kettering MP Philip Hollobone.

A PETITION bearing 129,387 names all calling for a ban on the retail sale of fireworks was delivered to No.10 Downing Street last week.

Long-time Fireworks control campaigner Teresa Kulkarni made her own and the voices of thousands of supporters heard on the steps of 10 Downing Street, flanked by MPs in sympathy with her aims.

Pet shop owner Kulkarni from Kings Lynn, Norfolk has been fighting against the indiscriminate sale and use of fireworks for several years, due to their impact on animals and people. She has raised petitions in the past, as reported many times previously by OUR DOGS.

She hauled the petition in suitcases to the Prime Minister's residence calling for fireworks to be restricted to licensed displays on a few specified dates to protect animals and the elderly from endless disruption caused by fireworks and the actions of mindless yobs who cause terror with the misuse of fireworks.

Kulkarni, 40, who owns a pet shop in Gaywood, Kings Lynn, Norfolk said: ‘I am just hoping the Government has got the guts to do what is necessary. This isn’t the first petition they’ve had, nor are they unaware of the strength of feeling against fireworks.’

‘Misuse and abuse of fireworks, apart from being very dangerous and life-threatening, is stopping our police and fire brigade from dealing with real emergencies. This is also costing the tax payer a lot of money.’

She said tightening of firework laws in 2003 did little to help – still allowing fireworks to be set off 16 hours a day, 365 days of the year. She also wants to see permitted firework noise levels brought down, and she questions why powerful category three fireworks are still available to the public to buy.

The petition calls for the government to amend the existing Fireworks laws to:

Restrict fireworks to licensed organised displays only at certain times of year

To include Garden Fireworks in the restricted category

To reduce the decibel limit to a maximum of 85db for all fireworks including display fireworks

To make it illegal to use or possess fireworks without a valid licence

North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, together with Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski and Kettering MP Philip Hollobone handed the petition over with Kulkarni last Wednesday.

Mr Bellingham also handed a copy of the petition direct to the House of Commons and secured a half-hour end-of-business debate on the issue which took place Monday evening.

He said: ‘I am definitely not one of those nanny state killjoys who want to stop legitimate fun. However I am in favour of restricting normal fireworks to ten days either side of November 5.’

Mr Bellingham believes other fireworks should be allowed, but only with a licence.

Theresa Kulkarni added: ‘This will be the first time our petition has been formally brought before the House. Therefore it is vital that as many people as possible write personally to their local MP telling them how fireworks are affecting you and your family, friends and animals so that the debate is not wasted. In doing so, you will also add support to the petition.

‘Previously we presented a petition of 92,835 signatures to 10 Downing Street calling for the total ban of sales to the public of fireworks. We asked that they be limited to licensed displays only. In that time much has happened but sadly none of it very good. As usual the Government has ignored the public and sided with the fireworks industry.

‘Many thanks to everyone who has helped and signed this latest petition. Thanks also to Mr Bellingham for his personal support in bringing this matter before Parliament. If you have not already written to your MP, I really would urge you to do so, for the sake of your pets, if nothing else.’

Theresa Kulkarni may be contacted at tc.kulkarni@virgin.net or by letter at 1, Methuen Avenue, Gaywood, King's Lynn, Norfolk. PE30 4BN

Write to your MP: Do it personally and if possible by hand. MPs tend to disregard type written material as they are often bombarded by lobbying mail from various pressure groups.

Handwritten letters tend to be more effective in getting through. If you are lucky enough to have an MP who does regular local surgeries get an appointment and talk to them personally.