Fireworks escape council’s ban on ‘sky litter’

Fears that firework displays could be banned were raised as Brighton and Hove City Council reviewed its rules for outdoor events.

The new “outdoor events strategy” approved by members of the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee bans “sky litter” in Brighton and Hove parks.

Conservative coucillor Robert Nemeth shared his concern that banning “sky litter” could potentially result in the council unintentionally banning the annual fireworks displays in the Nevill Recreation Ground and Preston Park.

Councillor Nemeth said: “I can’t find anywhere sky litter being defined as a technical term. It’s a general observation.

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“Sky litter seems to include fireworks. As it stands I think we’re going to accidentally ban fireworks and I don’t think that’s the intention of anybody.”

He was told that definitions had been considered, including the RSPCA’s, which  had fireworks falling outside the definition of sky litter as they were controlled, unlike Chinese lanterns and balloon releases.

At the meeting on Thursday (16 January), Green councillor Clare Rainey proposed extra conditions to ban the release of sky litter from any council land, not just parks and open spaces.

She said: “Recently the use of sky lanterns resulted in the tragic suffering and deaths of a large number of primates in a German zoo when their accommodation caught fire and burnt down.

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“There are also  numerous cases of wild, farm and domestic animals being injured by sky lanterns.”

Councillor Rainey said that balloon releases had caused problems for marine wildlife.

She was backed by fellow Green councillor Steph Powell who said: “Events are really important. They bring in a lot of money and are really enjoyable.

“The issue regarding sky litter … I was terribly upset by what happened in the German zoo. It was horrific and unnecessary.

“We have a duty of care to the world around us not to have these things on council land.”

The Greens were backed by Labour councillors in asking for all events with more than 500 visitors to submit a travel plan and submit an “environmental impact assessment” and  “equalities impact assessment”.

Labour and Green members of the committee also agreed to making recycling plastic, glass and cans mandatory rather than optional at future events and to ask for minimal damage to grass, flowerbeds and other green areas.

Labour and Conservative councillors voted against the Greens’ suggestion that the council should look at asking organisers of commercial events with more than 5,000 participants to share their profits with the council.

There were 253 events held in parks and open spaces in Brighton and Hove last year.

Of these, 61 attracted more than 5,000 people and made up 80 per cent of all attendance at events in the city.

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