Wrexham County Borough Council has become North Wales’ first local authority to formally back RSPCA plans to mitigate the risks posed by fireworks to animals in the local area.
Councillors backed a host of measures on Wednesday (18 December) – which will help ensure pet owners in the local area can be prepared for the loud bangs associated with fireworks, while also promoting their responsible use, and raising awareness.
Wrexham’s action follows recent steps taken by Neath Port Talbot Council and Rhondda Cynon Taf Council; but they are the first Council to act in North Wales.
Cllr David Bithell proposed the motion – which was agreed unanimously at this week’s meeting (18 December).
It was agreed that all public displays within the local authority’s boundaries must be advertised in advance, giving pet owners an opportunity to prepare and mitigate threats to their animals.
Councillors also gave their support to a public awareness campaign, while Wrexham CBC will write to the Welsh and new UK Government urging them to act. Local suppliers will also be urged to stock quieter fireworks for public sale.
The move comes as the RSPCA prepares for a further influx of calls about fireworks and animal welfare over the New Year period – just weeks after the recent Guy Fawkes Night celebrations.
Across England and Wales, in 2018 the RSPCA received 411 calls related to concerns about animal welfare and fireworks.
Fireworks are 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 stress and challenge for many animals.
The RSPCA has been calling on Councils across the Country to ensure more predictability around these stressful time periods, using powers at their disposal to encourage the more responsible use of fireworks at a local level.
Lewis Clark, RSPCA public affairs adviser, said: “It’s fantastic that Wrexham Council has become the first in North Wales to back this series of measures to mitigate the risk fireworks can pose to animals and their welfare.
“Sadly, we’re inundated with calls each year about welfare concerns for animals connected to fireworks. Measures like these taken in Wrexham can make a real difference for animals – and many vulnerable people too.
“We know being prepared can make all the difference for pets – so better advertising of displays and a public awareness campaign will help ensure fireworks can be enjoyed more safely in the area.
“It’s great, too, that the Council will be encouraging suppliers to stock lower-noise alternatives, and will be lobbying both the Welsh and UK Governments to act; which we hope will help ensure more responsible use of fireworks across the country, leading to better safety for pets, animals and communities.
“This move from Wrexham County Borough Council follows their decision to no longer grant licences to anyone wishing to give pets away as prizes, on Council owned land. The RSPCA is thrilled to see these positive steps being taken by the Council and hopes other local authorities across Wales will take similar ones in the name of animal welfare.”
Cllr David A Bithell, Deputy Leader of the Council, thanked all members for their support which – he said – will go a long way in supporting the RSPCA campaign bang out of order. He has asked other councils in Wales to support a similar position which will assist in helping to protect animals and vulnerable people from fireworks.