Charity says local authority action will “ease the stress many animals experience”

More than 40 local authorities will have RSPCA-backed rules and policies in place aimed at keeping animals and people safer this Guy Fawkes Night.

In recent years, the animal welfare charity has been working with local authorities across England and Wales – urging them to introduce specific measures aimed at improving public awareness and preparedness around the Bonfire Night celebrations.

Many councillors have put forward RSPCA-backed notices of motion to council meetings urging their local authority to adopt the measures – while others have amended council rules and regulations in the aim of offering more support to vulnerable people, pets, livestock and wildlife.

Across England and Wales, 41local authorities – including 27 in England and 14 in Wales – have introduced some RSPCA-backed measures to help protect animals from fireworks. In addition, a number of other Councils have also downloaded the RSPCA’s dedicated toolkit for local authorities to support their work locally.

The measures adopted by the dozens of councils making a difference this fireworks season include public awareness campaigns about the impact of fireworks on animals, ensuring all displays on council land are advertised far in advance so residents can take necessary precautions, and promoting the sale of quieter or low-noise fireworks to local businesses.

Lee Gingell, RSPCA public affairs manager for local government, said: “It’s really positive that so many local authorities have taken proactive steps to help protect animals during the fireworks season – and we hope these measures will ease the stress and fear many animals experience at this time of year.

“We’ve worked with councils across England and Wales on a suite of policies aimed at helping pet owners feel prepared, and ensuring our communities are planning ahead and considering the risks to animals.

“From awareness campaigns, to encouraging businesses to stock lower noise fireworks, and advertising displays in advance, there’s loads of great work going on at a local authority level ahead of this Guy Fawkes Night; and many councils have helped us by urging the UK Government to take further action too. It’s a great reminder of what we can achieve together for animal welfare.

“We’d like to thank all the councillors and councils across England and Wales who’ve worked with us – and would urge others to consider best practice and ensure these positive measures are implemented in all local communities across England and Wales.”

Sadly, every year the RSPCA receives an influx of reports about terrified animals during the fireworks season.

Push for UK Government action too

In addition to its work with councils, the RSPCA is urging the UK Government to amend fireworks regulations to better protect pets, wildlife and farm animals.

The charity wants the UK Government to limit the sale and use of fireworks to one week around Bonfire Night, and other traditional dates – such as Diwali, Chinese New Year and New Year’s Eve/Day, meaning ‘firework season’ would last for a much shorter timespan than is currently the case.

The charity is also calling for the UK Government to support firework control zones, prohibiting displays near horses’ habitats, sensitive wildlife areas, farms, zoos and animal centres.

A number of councils have also written to the UK Government – supporting RSPCA calls urging them to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90dB for those sold to the public for private displays.

Fresh RSPCA polling has found these measures to be popular with the general public, with the results showing that:

More than 3 in 4 (76%) UK adults think the UK government should limit days on which fireworks can be let off for Bonfire Night;

69% agreed that the UK Government should limit the sale of fireworks;

73% think firework control zones should be introduced;

68% want the maximum permitted noise levels of fireworks for public sale to be reduced from 120db to 90db.

Members of the public can show their support for these steps by signing up to the RSPCA’s #BangOutOfOrder campaign online, and emailing their Member of Parliament.

Carrie Stones, campaign manager at the RSPCA, added: “Fireworks are impacting animals each and every year – both during firework season when marked to celebrate traditional events and – more unexpectedly – out of season for other occasions. While many people enjoy watching displays, for many animals the dazzling spectacle of fireworks often becomes a terrifying ordeal.

“Sadly we are inundated with calls each year about welfare concerns for animals connected to fireworks and we hear first hand how frustrated the public are that the Bonfire Night period seems to last longer than ever before.”