Plasterk: beware of fireworks tourism
Home Affairs Minister Ronald Plasterk has warned that if cities would be allowed to execute their own fireworks policies, a new phenomenon of fireworks tourism could emerge.
Speaking in the Second Chamber today, Plasterk said that allowing the larger cities to designate themselves fireworks-free or fireworks-friendly could lead to problems, because people from one part of the country that does not allow fireworks may decide en mass to trek to parts of the country that do not mind the disturbance.
The cities had made a plea for more freedom regarding fireworks; they want authority to decide themselves about fireworks-free zones and whether it should be only professionals who operate fireworks.
Minister Plasterk explained that parishes already have the right to appoint fireworks-free areas, but that it is legally not possible yet to bar fireworks from an entire parish. “That would be up to the Second Chamber to decide in a national regulation,” the Minister said. Parliament has not yet taken a stance on whether to forbid fireworks.
The special fireworks hotline noted more than 80,000 complaints about fireworks disturbance around year-end. New Year’s Day 2014 alone saw a record number of 5,000 complaints. There was a slight increase over the 2012/2013 year end period. Most complaints regarded fireworks damage. Amsterdam took the lead.
Government is drafting a letter about fireworks, which will include the cost of police and emergency assistance, as well as the cost of people who are no longer able to work due to fireworks injuries.