Bonfire Night: dozens of councils adopt RSPCA in new measures to protect animals from 'firework fear'

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Every year the RSPCA says it receives an influx of reports about terrified animals during the fireworks season

More than 40 local authorities across England and Wales will now have new, RSPCA-backed rules and policies in place to keep animals and people safer this Guy Fawkes night - and many have backed calls for government-level change too.

In recent years, the animal welfare charity has been working with local authorities across the UK - urging them to introduce specific measures aimed at improving public awareness and preparedness around the Bonfire Night celebrations. Every year the RSPCA says it receives an influx of reports about terrified animals during the fireworks season.

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Many councillors 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. Now the charity says 41 local authorities - including 27 in England and 14 in Wales - have introduced at least some of the measures.

Bonfire Night can be a frightening time for pets (Photo: Firn - Adobe Stock)Bonfire Night can be a frightening time for pets (Photo: Firn - Adobe Stock)
Bonfire Night can be a frightening time for pets (Photo: Firn - Adobe Stock) | Firn - stock.adobe.com

These 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.

“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," RSPCA local government public affairs manager Lee Gingell said. “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."

Has my council adopted any RSPCA firework fear measures?

Here is a full list of councils in England and Wales which have backed the RSPCA measures:

England

  • Barnet London Borough Council

  • Bath and North East Somerset Council

  • Blackburn and Darwen Council

  • Bradford Council

  • Calderdale Borough Council

  • Cambridgeshire Council

  • Camden London Borough Council

  • Central Bedfordshire Council

  • Cheshire West and Chester Council

  • Havering London Borough Council

  • Herefordshire Council

  • Kingston Upon Thames London Borough Council

  • Manchester Council

  • Medway Council

  • Norfolk County Council

  • Oldham Council

  • Peterborough Council

  • Portsmouth City Council

  • Rochdale Council

  • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

  • St Helens Borough Council

  • Sunderland Council

  • Swindon Borough Council

  • Torbay Council

  • Wakefield Council

  • Warrington Borough Council

  • West Berkshire Council

Wales

  • Caerphilly County Borough Council

  • Carmarthenshire County Council

  • Conwy County Borough Council 

  • Denbighshire County Council

  • Flintshire County Council

  • Gwynedd Council

  • Isle of Anglesey County Council

  • Neath Port Talbot County, 

  • Newport City Council

  • Pembrokeshire County Council

  • Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

  • Swansea Council

  • Torfaen County Borough Council

  • Wrexham County Borough Council

There was a load of great work going on at a local authority level ahead of this Bonfire Night, he said, and many councils have helped the charity by urging the UK government to take further action too. "It’s a great reminder of what we can achieve together for animal welfare," he added.

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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 sale and use of fireworks limited to one week around Bonfire Night, and other traditional dates - such as Diwali, Chinese New Year and New Year’s Eve, meaning firework season would last for a much shorter timespan.

It is also calling for the government to support firework control zones, which would prohibit displays near horse habitats, sensitive wildlife areas, farms, zoos, and animal centres. A number of councils have already written to the government to support the call, and urged them to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks sold to the public for private displays to 90 decibels.

RSPCA campaign manager Carrie Stones 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," she said, "and we hear first hand how frustrated the public are that the Bonfire Night period seems to last longer than ever before."

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