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Ban for under-18s in fireworks crackdown; Most powerful fireworks likely to be outlawed.

Byline: Lisa Davies

UNDER-18s would be banned from possessing fireworks in public under new laws being proposed by the government.

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced a raft of measures, some of which would be in place by Christmas.

The planned changes follow a campaign, led by people in Coventry, for action over noise and nuisance from fireworks.

Other changes include outlawing the largest and most powerful fireworks for the public, while fixed penalties for people caught throwing fireworks in the street would be doubled to pounds 80.

The government will also draft regulations before the end of the year to enshrine in law the firework industry's current voluntary ban on airbombs.

The crackdown comes amid concern over abuse of fireworks including an incident on Friday in which a dog died of burns and shock after a firework was tied to its tail in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire.

Ms Hewitt said: "In the right place and the right time, fireworks are a real source of pleasure and we want families to enjoy the safe use of fireworks in their gardens and in public displays.

"But people across the UK are sick of being terrorised by irresponsible use of fireworks.

"We want to drive the fireworks thugs off the street."

The government will publish draft regulations in the New Year to introduce:

a national curfew banning the use of fireworks during anti-social hours; a noise limit of 120 decibels on shop-sold fireworks; a compulsory training course for operators of public firework displays; a new licensing system to ensure councils have the power to refuse licences to unscrupulous shopkeepers.

The government aims to have all the laws in place by July.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 5, 2003
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