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November 8, 2005 11:47 AM

Liz Lynne, Lib Dem MEP for the West Midlands, today urged local authorities to use powers introduced last year to target the mis-selling of fireworks to under-18s. The call follows a survey of Trading Standards Departments by the Party's Office of the Deputy Prime Minister spokesperson, Sarah Teather MP, which found that an average of 1 in 7 shops selling fireworks had done so to underage volunteers.

Of the 146 Trading Standards Departments across the country, 56 replied. Those 56 carried out a total of 283 test purchases using underage volunteers, 41 of whom were illegally sold fireworks.

The number of complaints to the DTI about firework noise and nuisance are rising extremely fast - 379 in 1999 compared to 1225 in 2002 - and the number of firework injuries between mid-October and mid-November 2004 totalled 1160. Commenting, Liz Lynne MEP said:

"The number of injuries from fireworks is still rising. It is critical that local authorities target their resources effectively to stamp out the number of irresponsible sales to under age persons to reduce the risk of firework related injuries.

"With the number of complaints about noise and nuisance from fireworks rising it is essential that trading standards officers enforce the regulations introduced last year."

Notes to editors:

The law:

· It is illegal to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am except on

November 5th, when the cut off point is midnight. On New Year's Eve,

Chinese New Year and Diwali they can be set off until 1am

· You must be over 18 to buy fireworks

· It is illegal for anyone under 18 to possess fireworks in public

· It is an offence to throw or set off fireworks in a street or public place

· Retailers who are caught selling fireworks three weeks prior to

November 5 or five days after, and without a higher tier licence

could receive a £5,000 fine and/or six months in prison.

Number of injuries from fireworks in 2004 by region, and nationally from 1997-2004:


Summary of new powers introduced in 2004


Firework Injuries 2004 by Regional Health Authority

Scotland 66

North Western 209

Eastern 112

South East 139

Greater London 66

West Midlands 91

Wales 73

South & West 89

Trent 145

North & Yorkshire 170