Councillors in Rhondda Cynon Taf have unanimously backed action that could mitigate the risks fireworks can pose to animals and their welfare.
RSPCA Cymru say the local authority has made a “hugely important statement”, as RCT becomes the second Council to act following Neath Port Talbot, on Wednesday 27 November.
Councillors supported RCT exploring ensuring all public firework displays in the area are advertised in advance of the event – allowing residents to take precautions for their animals.
Plans were also backed to consider a public awareness campaign, to encourage local retailers to stock lower decibel fireworks, and to write to Welsh Government to utilise any levers at their disposal to mitigate any negative impacts on animals and vulnerable people of the hosting of fireworks displays.
A report will now be prepared for cabinet, considering how RCT can take these proposals forward so they ease difficulties for animals, and vulnerable people.
2,285 calls have been received by the RSPCA across England and Wales related to concerns about animal welfare and fireworks since 2014 – with 411 of these calls last year alone.
Fireworks can be very popular, particularly in the latter months of the calendar year – but the unpredictable nature of the loud noises and bright flashing lights can be a source of great difficulty for many animals.
The RSPCA has been calling on Councils to more predictability around these stressful time periods, and more responsible use of fireworks.
RSPCA public affairs adviser Lewis Clark said: “It was great to see RCT Council become Wales’ second council in just a matter of hours to support measures which could make a real difference for animals facing a fireworks nightmare each year.
“We receive so many calls related to welfare concerns for animals connected to fireworks – so RCT Councillors have made a hugely important statement in unanimously backing this motion.
“Preparedness is so important – and better advertising of displays and a public awareness campaign could make all the difference in ensuring people know what steps to take to keep pets and other animals safe, and when.
“By lobbying the Welsh Government, too, to utilise levers at their disposal – we hope we can make Wales a safer place for animals when fireworks are being set off; encouraging responsible use, better information and the promotion of lower-noise alternatives.
“Sadly, we know many pets and other animals struggle with firework phobia – but the RSPCA website is full of advice to help their animals through firework season, including building a safe den, finding hiding places for cats or closing windows and curtains to help soundproof against the noise.”
Councillor Sharon Rees said: “Fireworks displays are often a great opportunity to celebrate within our communities, and Rhondda Cynon Taf Council recognises the importance our residents place on community events in which fireworks are often a part of. However, we also know that fireworks also have a detrimental impact on both domesticated and wild animals throughout our County Borough, as well as vulnerable residents and veterans who suffer from PTSD.
“I am pleased that Rhondda Cynon Taf’s Cabinet have unanimously agreed to look at ways on how the Council can work to limit the impact that fireworks have upon animals and vulnerable people, while allowing people to have fun and watch fireworks responsibly. Everyone has a role to play in this, from the Council to retailers, organisers to residents, we can work together to create a safe environment for all.
“The Council will now look at using powers at their disposal, such as a requirement for all public firework displays within the local authority boundaries to be advertised in advance of an event, allowing residents to take precautions, and public awareness campaigns about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people. However, Cabinet Members will also be writing to the Welsh Government, urging them to utilise the powers at their disposal, to work towards mitigating negative impacts.”