Dutch municipalities allowed to ban fireworks

Dutch municipalities will get the possibility to ban fireworks over New Year's. A majority in parliament supports this plan, and the government can live with such a local fireworks ban, turned out during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday evening, ANP reports.

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, discussed a report by the Dutch Safety Board in which the Board advised a nationwide ban on firecrackers and rockets. The government thinks that a national ban goes too far, the VVD and CDA in particular being against it. But the cabinet can agree with allowing municipalities to decide whether or not to ban fireworks over New Year's.

"It requires local customization, not a national ban", Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security said in the Kamer. The government is going to investigate with municipalities "how such a local ban can be organized", the Minister said.

New Year's is considered the most dangerous time of the year in the Netherlands. Hundreds of people end up in emergency rooms with injuries, there is large amounts of material damage, and emergency services workers often face aggression. The Safety Board advised banning firecrackers and rockets, because these cause the most injuries and damage. 

The government decided to implement six of the seven recommendations the Safety Board made in its report, all but the national ban on firecrackers and rockets. According to Grapperhaus, this is a "big step forwards" that should lead to fewer incidents "If the measures do not lead to the desired policy, we will not exclude a ban", the Minister added. 

During the debate on Wednesday, coalition parties ChristenUnie and D66 argued for a local fireworks ban. They received support from the CDA, SP and PvdA. GroenLinks, SGP, PvdD and 50Plus supported a national ban. Kees van der Staaij (SGP) called the local ban a "fall back option", and GroenLinks MP Kathalijne Buitenweg called it a "charming idea".