EDINBURGH’S reputation as the new year party capital of Europe could be under threat – as councillors consider introducing silent fireworks for the celebrations.
The city is known for celebrating Hogmanay, the military tattoo and its summer festivals with dazzling and deafening fireworks, but this could now end.
Edinburgh City Council today unanimously approved plans to conduct a report considering the use of “silent fireworks” at these events.
Joanna Mowat, a Conservative councillor has said pets and children are amongst those affected by the “loud bangs” the fireworks produce.
She has said that the use of “silent fireworks”, which are made without the noise-producing lead oxide, should be considered.
But local residents have suggested that silent fireworks would be “rubbish” and “anticlimactic”.
Hogmanay organisers also called the fireworks the “signature” of the new year celebrations.
Speaking about the possibility of using silent fireworks, Mowat said: “There are fireworks every night at the tattoo during August, there are firworks at the end of the international festival and more at Hogmanay, Diwali, Guy Fawkes Night and many others.
“It can be very loud. I’ve lived in Edinburgh in earshot of the fireworks for 20 years and they have got louder.
“Pets are being affected, small children are being woken up and there is evidence that people with post traumatic stress disorder really struggle with the loud bangs. The time has come to look at this, especially as silent fireworks are now available.”
She also added that she expected opposition to the idea and that even her husband was sceptical.
She said: “I expect there will be some kickback and my husband did say, ‘Oh, you’ll be known as Scrooge.
“I’m not calling for a ban just yet, not before a report.”
The full text of the motion calls for a report to investigate: “What impact the noise of the bangs has on the health and wellbeing of people and animals; what damage may be caused to property from the vibrations from the large pyrotechnic displays; What other options are available for keeping the spectacle but reducing the impact such as silent fireworks.”
Bob Batson, an Edinburgh Fringe performer and central Edinburgh resident slammed silent fireworks.
He said: “The only people who complain are the sheltered crumudgeons who live in the 1000 year old homes next to the castles.
“They’re the same type who would drive through a protest if it blocked their way home.”
Niall Moorjani, a Fringe street team manager and central Edinburgh resident added: “To not close the fringe with a literal bang would be a bit rubbish and anticlimactic.
Paul Gudgin, a former director of the Edinburgh Fringe added: “It would be a great shame and the event that would suffer most would be the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo.”
Epic Fireworks, one of the largest firework suppliers in the UK, said: “Loud bangs are not everybody’s cup of tea.
“People who have pets and animals or young or elderly relatives do not want bangs, screeches or whistles but still want to enjoy the fun of fireworks. There are fireworks which focus more on visual colours and effects.”
Major events across the world currently use silent fireworks in their displays.
Disneyland Paris uses noiseless fireworks at its displays after complaints from local residents.
Last year, the Italian town of Collecchio near Parma, became the first in the world to ban noisy fireworks, claiming that they scared cows and sheep, and led to hens laying fewer eggs.