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Citizens' initiative banning non-professional use of fireworks meets target, to go before MPs

The proposal aims to reduce injuries caused by fireworks as well as relieve the stress suffered by animals.

Image: Eija Kontio / Lehtikuva

A citizens' initiative to prohibit the use of fireworks by untrained consumers has gathered the 50,000 signatures required for MPs to consider legislative changes based on the proposal. The initiative reached the 50,000-signature threshold on Saturday.

The legal reform proposal has the backing of a number of animal rights, health, patient and disability organisations including the Association for the Deaf, the Medical Association, Helsinki Humane Society and the Finnish Kennel Club. Altogether 14 NGOs and lobby groups launched the initiative in early December.

Sponsors said that they hope the initiative will reduce harm caused by fireworks, such as eye and other injuries as well as fires. They also said cited a desire to alleviate stressed caused to animals and to limit environmental contamination.

If it became law, the initiative would ban ordinary consumers from using fireworks classified as F2 and F3. These categories include pot bombs, air bombs and rockets. The proposal allows consumers to continue to use lighter pyrotechnics such as sparklers and smaller bomb fireworks.

The December initiative was the second push to restrict the use of fireworks by non-professionals. At the beginning of the year a previous citizens’ initiative to allow only professionals to use the pyrotechnics attracted a little less than 16,000 supporters.

Current legislation allows members of the public to use fireworks between 6.00pm on New Year’s Eve and 2.00am on New Year’s Day.

The city of Espoo said last week that it would no longer put on fireworks displays to mark the New Year, but would introduce laser light shows.

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