Plans to ban firecrackers in the Netherlands
Last December, the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) advised that firecrackers and rockets be banned during New Year’s Eve festivities. The Dutch government has not yet come to an agreement regarding a ban.
New ban proposal
According to research from the OVV, hundreds of people are injured each year during New Year’s Eve and since the year 2000, on average; one person loses their life. In order to bring these numbers down, the OVV has advised the introduction of a ban on firecrackers and rockets.
The plan to ban both firecrackers and rockets has received mixed reactions from the Dutch government. Minister of Justice and Security, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, and State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, Stientje Van Veldhoven, propose banning firecrackers and making it compulsory for vendors to supply safety glasses and stable firing tubes to customers purchasing rockets.
Support for Dutch ban divided
Whilst many political parties, such as GroenLinks, PvdD, PvdA and SP feel that the ban on firecrackers is a step in the right direction, not everyone is pleased with the proposal. VVD MP Erik Ziengs feels that a ban on firecrackers will be difficult to enforce and that more attention should actually be paid to tackling illegal fireworks.
Chairperson of the Dutch interest group Pyrotechnic Netherlands (BPN), Leo Groeneveld, believes that the ban will be detrimental to the Dutch New Year’s holiday fireworks tradition. He also reasons that it will encourage the purchase of illegal fireworks from abroad, an increase of which may lead to greater numbers of firework-related injury victims.
Rudi Buis, from the Dutch Association of Insurers, does not think that the ban will make much of a difference. Damages of around 10 to 15 million euros are incurred on New Year’s Eve; these damages are largely caused by illegal fireworks. By enforcing a ban, the number of nuisances reported may decrease but it is likely that the amount of damages will not be affected.
Dutch governmental decision
A decision regarding the proposal has not been made, however; MP’s from the ruling political parties have been informed. The Ministerial Council will make a definitive decision in the coming weeks.
The Dutch cabinet will not be banning firecrackers, as the majority in the House of Representatives are against such a ban. The Dutch government will, however, be coming up with a plan to prevent firework-related accidents. The deadline for the new plan is the end of May.