Clause 7 - Licensing of suppliers

Part of Fireworks Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:30 pm ar 30 Ebrill 2003.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Miss Melanie Johnson Miss Melanie Johnson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry 3:30, 30 Ebrill 2003

The Explosives Act 1875 deals with the storage requirements for explosives, including fireworks. However, it does not allow for a differentiation among fireworks. That distinction is lacking, so it is open to any retailer to stock and sell both the largest and smallest available fireworks. That has been a cause of concern to enforcement authorities and safety organisations for some time. I know from the comments that hon. Members have made that it is also of concern to the Committee. Clause 7 allows for the introduction of a licensing system, relating to both retailers and their premises, for the sale of fireworks, or particular types of fireworks.

That will be a helpful distinction. We believe that licensing will be a solution to many of the problems relating to the sale of the fireworks. Therefore, I agree that we need to examine the issue, but we must also be careful that regulations are not too prescriptive, and that they do not place undue burdens on the retailers or local authorities that will have to operate them. I bear in mind the enthusiasm of the Glasgow authorities when considering local authority involvement in those schemes.

We have been thinking about the best way of enacting the provisions, and my officials have had several discussions with representatives of the local authority co-ordinators of regulatory services. Discussions have also taken place with some of the representative bodies of retailers. We need to ensure that we do not create new requirements that will place additional burdens on retailers or enforcement bodies. We have been working with the Health and Safety Executive