Firework displays fizzle out amid spiralling cost of living crisis


Dozens of organised firework displays have been cancelled this year, with councils citing concern over the cost of living crisis and fears about damage to the environment.

Following the disruption caused by the pandemic, this November represented the first opportunity since 2019 for many communities to come together to mark Guy Fawkes night.

But organisers in cities and towns across the country have said they can no longer afford to put on large displays.

Leeds City Council has announced the cancellation of all six of its traditional firework displays, saying the decision had been taken due to the “significant budget pressures faced by the council”.

A spokesman for the Labour-controlled authority also said the current cost of living pressures on residents is having a significant impact on the council’s demand for services and support.

The spokesman added: “In addition, the council is facing an increase in the cost of electricity, gas and fuel and given the costs associated with restarting bonfires this year would be in excess of £200,000, the decision to cancel the displays has been taken due to the need to identify any non-essential spend.”

Firework events 'no longer feasible'

The annual Sparks in the Park event in Cardiff, which has been running for more than 40 years, has also been cancelled for the ”foreseeable future" after organisers said they could no longer keep up with the rising costs.

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Cardiff Round Table, which organised the event said: "Unfortunately, over the past few years we have faced escalating costs and organisational burdens, the same as so many of us have been feeling.

“As a purely volunteer-driven event, where all profits raised are donated to local charities and good causes, it is no longer feasible for us to put on an event of this scale.”

Organisers of the annual Guy Fawkes event in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, have also announced a different approach this year because of environmental concerns.

While the free to attend fireworks display will still take place in the town, there will be no bonfire this year due to health and safety concerns and fears about the damage air pollution could do to the local environment.

Andy Rickard, organiser, said: “I know some people will miss the bonfire, and we certainly haven’t ruled out having a bonfire in future years, but we thought it was time to try something different.”

Warning of firework-related injuries

Similar events have also been cancelled in London, with Labour-run Hackney council scrapping the annual Clissold Park event, citing rising inflation and consideration of air quality as factors. Other events have also been scrapped in Liverpool and Dundee.

But the cancellation of large scale organised events has led to concern that there might be an increase in injuries among people letting off their own fireworks.

Every year, fire brigades are called out to thousands of incidents and accident and emergency units have to deal with a large number of burns and firework-related injuries.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: “Decisions to cancel any events are taken by individual councils based on their unique local circumstances.”