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Since when did Bonfire Night give us an excuse to wake up the neighbourhood for a good fortnight beforehand wonders Ros Dodd?

Now I'm not a rocket scientist, but I do have an aversion to rockets - of the fireworks kind. Call me a killjoy, but I am increasingly fed up by the way we choose to mark Bonfire Night.

In the recent past, celebrations were clustered around the relevant weekend and the displays that lit up the night skies were more colourful than noisy; nowadays, military-sounding explosions rock our homes and disturb our sensibilities from the middle of October and continue for at least a month.

It is little short of ridiculous and outrageous. Quite apart from the illegal fireworks smuggled into the country, many of the legitimate ones sound as though World War Three has broken out.

I stood at my bedroom window a couple of nights ago and could feel the reverberation of the explosions in my chest. As I did so, I heard the plaintive cries of erstwhile sleeping birds and the barks of frightened dogs. This, surely, isn't right.

It is now fairly commonplace to be woken by a cascade of ear-blasting fireworks at well past midnight. This is simply not socially acceptable and it's high time the Government - which displays no reticence over ruling the rest of our lives - made it illegal for fireworks to be let off after 11pm or even 10pm.

Yes, let's enjoy ourselves, but let's also have a bit of empathy with those who are elderly, sick or simply allergic to noisy fireworks - as well as animals and birds which have no understanding of our bizarre annual practices.

Do we need tougher laws against fireworks?


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