Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 13 November 2014


One of the jobs of a constituency MP is to receive incoming communications of concern from and decide what to do about it. This year more than in any year I can remember, we have had a large number of complaints about the noise and problems caused by fireworks. I need your help to decide what to try and do about it.

My resolve was stiffened by an e-mail on Monday from an ex-servicemen who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In a poignant e-mail he explained how unexpected loud bangs can take him right back to the horrors of Afghanistan. I had already received several calls from elderly people who had been disturbed by this years' fireworks added to which were the tales of terrified pets and horses.

It is odd, is it not that in this age where we face a significant threat from terrorists who wish to blow us up, that we still celebrate the deeds of somebody who wanted to blow up our Houses of Parliament. If somebody succeeded in doing this today, would we actually celebrate that fact? (Don't answer that.)

I am not suggesting for a moment that we should ban fireworks or abolish bonfire night, but I wonder if there is an argument for greater regulation. One night of anguish would be better than what we currently have namely, random explosions happening over the course of at least a fortnight. Should we let it go on so long? Should we now restrict our celebrations to official Bonfire parties like the ones we have in all of our communities?  Should we aim to further reduce the decibel levels of some of these extraordinary loud whizz-bangs that sometimes seem to shake to rattle the window frames?

I know from my casework that the number of autistic and Asperger's children in our midst is increasing and two characteristics of these troubled souls is that they hate loud noise and they hate uncertainty. So does my PTSD constituent. Have we reached the stage now where the pleasure experienced by fireworks at large in our communities is outweighed by the pain they inflict on a minority?

I seek wisdom from you. Is this a subject for a campaign for a change in the law, presumably after the next election, if I am returned? Should we restrict the use of fireworks to official, well-publicised events and ban them elsewhere. What do you think?

Please e-mail me at

posted by Gary @ 09:21