Bonfire and fireworks events cancelled across Bradford district

Police and fire officers from across the area are asking people not to hold unofficial firework events this year.

The local authority and the emergency services have teamed up to ask residents across Ilkley and Keighley to consider different ways to celebrate Bonfire Night this year because of the pandemic.

Bradford Council has announced that no organised bonfire and firework events are allowed to take place - and says anyone creating their own 'unofficial' event could add the risk of accidents to the risk of the coronavirus, placing additional pressure on hospitals and emergency services.

Meeting the social distancing guidance and ensuring that no more than six people attend a bonfire in a public space would be extremely difficult to enforce so they should not take place this year. People are asked to follow the guidelines issued by the Government to Stay Safe, Stay Alert and Stay Home, which means not visiting other people’s homes or gardens. It is against the law to break these rules and the police can take action against those who flout them.

The council also says an absence of loud fireworks and anti-social behaviour will be welcome, especially by older and vulnerable people - and will also give nervous pets a respite from the stress of the bonfire period.

Cllr Abdul Jabar, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, said: “We know this will be a huge disappointment for many people but we have to continue to make safety our main priority. There is no way at all to hold bonfire and firework events without putting people at risk of catching the Covid-19 virus.

“If young people become infected at bonfire events they run the risk of passing on the virus to more vulnerable older people in their home who may also be elderly and suffering from underlying health conditions. It just doesn’t make sense to gamble with people’s lives for the sake of a few fireworks. We are urging people not to celebrate except to have a close family party at home.”

Superintendent Mark Jessop, of Bradford District Police, said: “This year is going to be a lot different from any other year due to the current restrictions and guidance in relation to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic which will mean that formal events will not be taking place. 

“We urge people to continue to follow the guidance and local lockdown restrictions which are in place across the majority of West Yorkshire.

“Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, we have continued to engage with the public regarding restrictions as they have evolved and this will remain our approach. Our officers will continue to focus on engaging, explaining and encouraging with enforcement where necessary.

“Any anti-social and criminal behaviour will not be tolerated and we need our communities to help us by providing information about anyone involved in this potentially dangerous behaviour. Above all, we do want everyone to enjoy the celebrations and stay safe.”

Fire Service District Commander for Bradford Benjy Bush said: “We know that this year Bonfire Night is looking very different and large organised events are cancelled, which we usually recommend as the safest way to enjoy a well regulated and often spectacular fireworks display. 

“It’s very important that people take note of our safety advice and do not have a bonfire in their own back gardens, as there’s always the potential for fire to spread or people to be injured by fireworks.

“This is really not worth the risk to you or your family, and it is not worth the risk of putting an extra strain on the emergency services and NHS at this time during the pandemic.

“So please show your support for the emergency services and the NHS by staying home and staying safe and when we are able to, we will all enjoy festivities such as Bonfire Night all the more.” 

 

 

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