Popular fireworks firm saved after EU law change dismissedBy Becky Barnes
March 01, 2013
Bonfire night is back on after a Government minister backed a Bracknell fireworks firm’s campaign to dismiss a change in EU law which threatened the industry.
Andy Hubble, owner of Star Fireworks, in Bullbrook Row, called on Bracknell MP Dr Phillip Lee to help fight the ruling which meant ‘old’ stock was deemed ‘illegal’.
The 39-year-old, who does displays for Big Brother and the X Factor, faced having to bin up to £200,000 of stock, which could have forced his business to go bust.
But Jo Swinson, business, innovation and skills minister, last Thursday confirmed she would be overturning the guidance after Dr Lee lobbied her on behalf of the fireworks industry. In a letter to Dr Lee she said she would be advising Trading Standards officers to allow stock that was imported up to 2014 and was not CE-marked to be sold.
She added a review would be conducted as to why the guidance with such implications for the fireworks industry was published.
Dr Lee said: “This is great news – the guidance was plain stupid and complete nonsense.
“I am delighted at the announcement that the minister has clarified the confusion over regulations.
“This means that at last Bracknell will be able to celebrate a great Guy Fawkes Night this year.
“I am really pleased for Star Fireworks – they were really concerned this was going to tip them over the edge. I was quite robust with my exchange with the minister and emphasised it needed to be sorted swiftly.
“British Standard is far better than EU standard anyway.”
Andy condemned the ‘nonsense’ change in guidance which meant fireworks which were not CE-marked but were rated British Standard could no longer be sold unless they were on the market before July 2010.He said this was ‘the worst thing possible’ for the fireworks industry and could shut the whole thing down.
Andy Hubble, who is in China to buy fireworks, was relieved to hear the news.
He said: “This would still be unsettled had it not been for Dr Phillip Lee going directly to the minister to stress the urgency of the situation and need for a swift solution as we had been placed in an impossible situation by the Government.
“It is only thanks to his efforts we are able to be in China placing the orders which until last week would have been deemed illegal thanks to this very unhelpful European directive. The safety of our fireworks has never been in question, the British Standard is an excellent sign of a quality, safe product.”
Andy will attend a meeting in Westminster on March 20 for further negotiations with the minister.