The association of local councils (VNG) finds it ‘extremely strange’ that councils will have to pay the cost of policing the new national firework rules.
The sale of fireworks is being restricted to December 30 and 31, rather than December 29. In addition, they may only be set off between 18.00 hours and 2.00 hours on December 31.
Enforcement of the new rules is the responsibility of the councils, justice minister Ivo Opstelten has decided. ‘But the agreement was that this would be a joint responsibility,’ according to the VNG.
‘There is not even a national campaign about the change in the rules, so how will people know something has changed?’ a spokesman news website nu.nl.
According to the VNG, the councils do not have the manpower to enforce the new rules. ‘And Opstelten says he does not have the manpower either,’ the spokesman said. ‘We do not understand that enforcement is now the sole responsibility of the councils.’
The new rules are in response to growing calls for restrictions on the use of fireworks because of the injuries and damage to public property. The mayors of the country’s four big cities have called for tougher rules and Hilversum’s mayor plans to ban fireworks from the city centre.
However, Leo Groeneveld, chairman of the firework sellers’ association, said the new rules will not solve the problems and that more needs to be done to combat the influx of illegal fireworks.
‘There are always thousands of complaints around Christmas but officially fireworks cannot be sold then,’ he told Nos television. ‘You can reduce the time allotted to legal fireworks but that does not keep illegal fireworks out of the country.’
Every year dozens of people lose limbs and eyes in the New Year firework frenzy but ministers have refused to consider a ban, saying fireworks are part of the Dutch traditions
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