Wednesday 18 October 2017

Festivalgoers to be banned from setting off flares and fireworks at music events

Coloured smoke flares are set off during the Leeds Festival
Coloured smoke flares are set off during the Leeds Festival

Festivalgoers are to be barred from setting off flares, fireworks and smoke bombs at music events under Government plans.

An amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill, currently making its way though the House of Lords, would make the possession of such pyrotechnic items at a concert venue a criminal offence, with anyone found guilty facing up to three months in prison.

However, the law would not extend to event organisers and so hinder the staging of live performances.

Outlining the proposal, Government spokesman Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen said the misuse of fireworks, flares and smoke bombs at festivals was "an increasing problem and deeply concerning".

She said such items were "dangerous" when misused, with fireworks capable of burning at more than 2,200C.

Thick fumes released by smoke bombs in crowded spaces could also cause breathing difficulties, particularly in asthma sufferers, Lady Chisholm added.

Peers heard that existing legislation, that banned their use at football matches because of the threat they posed, did not cover other events.

Lady Chisholm said: "The misuse of fireworks, flares and smoke bombs at festivals and other live musical events by members of the public is an increasing problem and deeply concerning."

While the ban would initially only cover England, discussions were taking place with the Welsh government.

She added: "This offence will help prevent harm that can come from the misuse of such dangerous articles and allow everyone to enjoy live music events safely."

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