Council says families can celebrate by baking or buying glow sticks instead
Bishops Park Fireworks display is a usual fixture of Fulham life
Hammersmith & Fulham Council has been slammed by locals after cancelling its Bonfire Night fireworks displays. There will be no event in Bishops Park this year and the Ravenscourt Park display has also been axed with the council encouraging families to celebrate by baking or buying glow sticks instead.
Plans are underway for a laser show to take place instead in 2023, which the authority said will be “environmentally friendly” and “less disruptive to neighbours”. But annoyed locals have accused the council of pandering to a “woke” agenda and ruining traditions.
Posting on Facebook, Elizabeth Servis said: “It’s once a year folks! [For God’s sake] don’t let the woke activists win!” Paul Havers also said: “What the F, scrapping this just to please the wokes and crybabies. What’s next, scrapping the Sunday roast? This is beyond a b****y joke – somebody on the council needs to grow a pair.”
He added, “Somebody please invent a time machine so that we can go back to a time when this country didn’t pamper to the cry babies… If you don’t like it, stay home and eat your lentils with Alpro but don’t spoil it for everyone else.”
Sandra Doyle accused the local authority of “chipping away at the old traditions”. She said on Facebook: “Fireworks in Ravenscourt Park was the highlight of my childhood years!”
A statement on the council website said, “We hope to be back next year with a fantastic new laser light display. This will not only be less disruptive to neighbours it will also be more environmentally friendly.
“We thank you for your patience while we develop this major new event. If you do plan to celebrate with fireworks this Bonfire Night, please do so safely and courteously to your neighbours.
“The London Fire Brigade has suggested alternative ways to celebrate at home, with ideas including making your own Guy Fawkes and bonfire crafts, decorating the home, purchasing glow sticks for children and baking bonfire goodies.”
Despite the backlash, some Londoners backed the council’s decision to scrap the fireworks, claiming a laser display would be good for the planet and safer for children and animals. Patricia Garcia posted, “A laser show. Good for the dogs and other wildlife too!”
Lisa Tubbs said, “It’s not just pets, it’s children who suffer with noise, so people really do need to stop and think about things in this day and age. Too many idiots buy fireworks [which] cause misery and injuries every year. The shops and online should be banned from selling them.
“Unfortunately, these things do ruin it for others. The environment and ozone layer for one needs protecting. I personally think laser shows are a great idea. There’s no damage, no mess to clear up, and all displays should be private like this.”
Other UK councils have also axed fireworks celebrations this year due to cost-of-living pressures and environmental concerns. Nottingham’s Bonfire Night event was scrapped due to the cost-of-living crisis, while the annual display in Southwark Park was recently axed in a nod to the “climate emergency”.
Southwark Council’s cabinet boss Joseph Brown said it would be “very difficult” to throw a carbon-neutral event this year. But many events are still set to go ahead in London, including pyrotechnics at Wimbledon Park, fireworks at Morden Park and a huge display at Battersea Park.
Written with contributions from Hannah Neary - Local Democracy Reporter
October 31, 2022