In recent weeks residents have contacted me to complain about people setting off fireworks far too early and also lighting them in a public place. This problem occurs each year and has a huge impact on the health of people (especially small children and elderly people) in the community and also their pets. It is important to know what the law is on this issue so that swift action can be taken against the law breakers. Local shops and firework suppliers also have a duty of care when selling fireworks to anyone.
An individual can’t buy or use ‘adult’ fireworks if they’re under the age of 18, and it’s against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on certain occasions. ‘Adult’ fireworks are also known as category 2 and 3 fireworks; they don’t include things like ‘sparklers’ and ‘party poppers’. The law states that you must not set off or throw fireworks (including ‘sparklers’) in the street or other public places. If you see someone doing this you should contact the Police immediately on 101.
You must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am. The exceptions are:
- On Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight
- On New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am
An individual can only buy fireworks (including sparklers) from registered sellers for private use on these dates:
- 15th October to 10th November
- 26th to 31st December
- Three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year
At other times fireworks can only be purchased from licensed shops. Fines of up to £5,000 and/or imprisonment for 3 months can apply for buying or using fireworks illegally. “On-the-spot fines of £80” may also be imposed. If you think a supplier or local shop is selling fireworks inappropriately or without the correct license, you can report them to Staffordshire County Council Public Protection/Trading Standards on 0300 111 8045.
I can always remember visiting Kidsgrove Labour Club on a Thursday night and sitting with nana for a game of bingo. She loved the club and was much loved by the regular bingo players. She would always play a full book of six and nothing would stop that. One Thursday I noticed that nana couldn’t hold her bingo dabber properly. Her hands seemed to have stiffened up and she was missing her numbers. So I asked her if she wanted help and she was reluctant to let me, but eventually passed me the dabber and gave me a look I always remember. Nana didn’t want to give up, but her body was giving up on her.
Weeks went by and I noticed nana struggled to get out of the car, she would trip up on flat surfaces and she needed help to get up small steps. Ladies at the club, in particular Morag and Cath, would help as much as they could and I will never forget their kindness during what was a very difficult time. Nan had other problems, but she never complained and just wanted to carry on as normal, even though her body was trying to stop her.
Eventually nana struggled with swallowing and was choking on her food. I don’t want to go into great detail about what granddad had to do when she choked because it wasn’t pleasant and it upsets me thinking about it. Nana was eventually admitted into North Staffs because she was struggling so much with so many different issues. Her mobility problems were becoming a daily fight and she struggled to do anything without help. Eventually nana passed away with her closest family around her. It was a quiet end, but I still to this day cannot believe how quick it all happened.
I could go into much more detail about the suffering and the struggle we had caring for nana, but it wouldn’t be fair on my granddad or other family members. They have a right to keep their privacy.
Few diseases are as devastating as Motor Neurone Disease. It is rapidly progressive in the majority of cases, and is always fatal. People with MND will, in varying sequences and combinations, lose the ability to speak, swallow and use their limbs; the most common cause of death is respiratory failure. Most commonly the individual will remain mentally alert as they become trapped within a failing body, although some experience dementia or cognitive change. There are up to 5000 people living with MND in the UK. A third of people with the disease die within 12 months of diagnosis, and more than half within two years.
There is no cure for MND, but symptoms can be managed to help a sufferer achieve the best quality of life.
Over the years I have worked to raise awareness of MND in our community and also joined the Motor Neurone Disease Association (www.mndassociation.org) to help raise funds for research. So much more needs to be done on this issue in terms of providing better care for people with the disease and also encouraging the Government to fund better research.
The Government’s plans to reform benefits will have a negative impact on people with MND and their carers. The Government’s current proposals in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015 would take vital support away from people with MND who claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA), a benefit to support them when they can no longer work. The benefit freeze will mean that even those in the support group for the benefit will be worse off. The Governments proposal to include the basic rate of ESA in the four year freeze to working age benefits is causing significant concern for many affected with MND and their families and friends. In addition, carers will be penalised further by the lower benefit cap, despite the considerable service and financial contribution they make.
People with MND who find themselves struggling to meet mortgage interest payments will be faced with the prospect of arranging a further loan, and will have to wait 39 weeks in order to do this, despite their terminal diagnosis. Finally the cumulative impact of cuts across the welfare system poses a very real risk to those who need support the most.
My belief is that government ministers do not really understand how difficult it is coping with such a diagnosis and condition. People suffering with such a terminal illness like MND will face huge financial challenges in managing extra costs of the condition. It is an uphill battle when your body is quite simply giving up on you.
There should be no question that the Social Security System should be fully supporting people with terminal illnesses. People deserve to live the rest of their lives feeling comfortable and without worry.
The Government should ensure ESA is not affected by the freeze on benefits, and that the basic allowance rises in line with inflation. They should also remove the Carer’s Allowance and Bereavement Allowance from the scope of the benefit cap. The Government should also preserve the support for mortgage interest (SMI) as a benefit and provide an exemption to the 39 week rule for people with a terminal illness. Finally there should also be a requirement for the Government to carry out a report on disability poverty, and set meaningful targets to achieve reductions.
I will do all I can to raise this matter with the Government, my local MP and health bodies including the NHS. Unless you know someone who suffers with this disease, you will never really understand the devastating effects MND can have. So if you are reading this and want to do more, please use whatever means necessary to raise awareness of MND. Small communities can help with such a big issue.
Unfortunately my auntie has recently been diagnosed with the disease. My family are devastated and cannot believe how unlucky life can be. MND is rare, but to hit two relatives like this, even rarer. People in Kidsgrove are once again showing their kindness and are supporting our family to help our auntie. We are determined to work together to fight back and remain in hope that one day we will find a cure for this nasty vile disease. This is a fight we want to win.
(Thank you to the Motor Neurone Disease Association for providing facts and figures to make this article possible. You can visit the MNDA at www.mndassociation.org)
You can now buy your tickets to support our auntie and raise awareness of MND. Just click the link below for a fast payment, or alternatively you can purchase them from behind the bar at Kidsgrove Working Men’s Club.
In recent years, residents in the Butt Lane area have continued to raise their concerns about parking. Terraced Streets like Church Street, Wright Street, Skellern Street, Chapel Street, Glebe Street, Banbury Street and half of Woodshutts Street continue to become overburdened with vehicles. The issue is becoming exacerbated for a number of reasons.
These days, many families have more than one car per household and the majority of these homes do not have a driveway. There are also a number of businesses that continue to thrive in the local area. Growth in business equals more jobs for people in our community and we welcome this. The big problem is that businesses around here have little or no parking space for their employees or customers. People do not see any other option but to park in one of the streets mentioned above. This is causing community tension and continued upset for the people residing in the places previously mentioned.
Residents have asked local Councillors to look at what options are available to solve the parking crisis. We have recently asked Staffordshire County Councils Highways Community Liaison Officer, David Greatbatch for advice on what can be done to solve the current problem at hand. David has advised that Resident Parking Zones (RPZ) could be a potential solution, but there are all sorts of pros and cons with this. These are as follows:
- Some residents may not wish to pay the initial fee which funds the signing and lining costs of the scheme nor would they support annual payments for the parking permit(s).
- To avoid displacement to nearby streets the RPZ would extend beyond Church Street and Wright Street and in some instances, because residents of these added streets do not have a problem with parking they would not support the RPZ. However it may not be considered appropriate to continue without these streets included since the displacement would no doubt result in a future request for the RPZ to be extended.
- Displacement beyond the RPZ may still occur if those who work at the local businesses do not use alternative means of transport and therefore whatever the limits of the RPZ they will park beyond it.
- The number of permits given to each property may not be sufficient where multiple car ownership is present – permits available are based on the available spaces which in many cases along terraced streets means that parking can only be permitted on one side since we are unable to condone parking partly on the footway, which may take place currently to enable parking on both sides. This possible reduced parking availability is another reason why residents may not support the RPZ. The reason why a zone is chosen, in addition to deal with displacement, is to try to increase the available space – if calculations indicate that there is simply not enough on street space to allow one space per property the RPZ may have to be shelved.
- Another issue some residents have is that a permit for parking within an RPZ does not guarantee they can park outside their property – it merely allows parking within the zone.
- Local businesses may be entitled to a number of permits, but these would be limited and should reduce the number of vehicles parked in the RPZ area.
- The RPZ process requires appropriate levels of resident support throughout and if this is not present the scheme will be shelved. It is also one which will be added to many that have been requested throughout the borough area and there are at least two zones which have previously been prioritised which will need to be completed before any others can be considered for progressing.
For more information about RPZ schemes the following link will be of assistance:
So as you can see from the above information, there is no quick fix to the parking problems in the local area, but we must find a solution and together we will. We also need a strategy for Congleton Road. Staffordshire County Council has still failed to recognise the need for a full traffic survey in Butt Lane and refuses to recognise the severity of congestion on the A34. People living on Congleton Road also need to be able to park their cars safely, but without land, investment and commitment from the County Council – nothing will happen anytime soon.
If you’re a Butt Lane resident and you would like to discuss Resident Parking Zones with your Councillors, contact:
County Councillor John Taylor 01782 786227 – email@example.com
Kyle Robinson 07837905443 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sylvia Dymond 07904569665 – email@example.com
Silvia Burgess 07906337215 – firstname.lastname@example.org