Sunday 12 July 2020

VVD give majority backing to ban on consumer fireworks in Amsterdam

New Year fireworks in Amsterdam. Photo: Depositphotos.com

There is majority support on Amsterdam city council for a total ban on the sale of fireworks to consumers, website Nu.nl reported on Thursday, ahead of a debate on the New Year celebrations.

Two of the four ruling parties – GroenLinks and Labour – back a ban on consumer fireworks, and the VVD has now said it too favours such a move, the paper said. ‘We are dismayed by the problems that [fireworks] cause,’ local leader Marianne Poot said. ‘A small group of people are ruining it for the rest.’

On Wednesday, it emerged that there is majority support within Rotterdam council for an outright ban, and that there too the local VVD supports the plan.

The national VVD has not yet voiced support for a ban, although parliamentary party leader Klaas Dijkhoff said on Tuesday he is not ‘deaf and blind’ to the problems the firework frenzy causes.

There is, however, majority support in parliament for a ban on rockets and firecrackers.

Two people died and almost 1,300 people were treated for firework-related injuries, according to public safety research group VeiligheidNL. Of them, 385 were helped at hospital accident and emergency departments. Police chiefs and safety experts have all called on parliament to get tough on fireworks or bring in a total ban.

In Amsterdam the damage to council property was put at some €500,000. Some 150 rubbish bins and 50 traffic signs were vandalised during the festivities and one children’s playground will require a €25,000 clean-up.

Several underground rubbish containers were also set on fire and need to be replaced.

This year Amsterdam did not hold a centralised firework display on the IJ waterway, saying most people preferred to celebrate in their own neighbourhoods.

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