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Fireworks law gets a rethink after 50 years

22:21 02/11/2015

Federal minister for consumer affairs Kris Peeters is reviewing the law on the use of fireworks by members of the public for the first time in 50 years. The review aims, he said, to improve safety for the user in the light of technical changes that have taken place, as well as providing legal security for retailers.

“It is high time a clear line is drawn because the nuisance caused by fireworks has gotten worse in recent years,” Peeters said. “Every year, there are injuries, people are burned or scarred for life, thanks to mishandling or illegal use of professional-level fireworks among friends and family. We have to do something about it.

A new law – to come into force in July 2017 – forbids the use of the loudest and most dangerous types of fireworks, in category F3 and higher, by members of the general public. Type F2, meanwhile, will not be sold to people younger than 16, and F1 are banned for anyone under 12.

The existing rule that no-one may possess or transport more than one kilogram of Net Explosive Mass – the amount of gunpowder contained in fireworks – remains. The rules on storage by the trade and on firework displays will be tackled later.

Peeters also gave the economy ministry the go-ahead to begin producing this year’s annual campaign on firework safety, in preparation for the traditional fireworks celebrations for the end of the year.

Photo: Gong Bing/Xinhua Press/Corbis

Written by Alan Hope