Bonfire Night on the Hoe has officially been cancelled due to COVID-19.
The glittering waterfront spectacle, which usually sees thousands of visitors gather to enjoy the bonfire and firework display, has been cancelled due to the pandemic.
With organised Bonfire Night displays unable to go ahead, the message from Plymouth City Council, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and Devon and Cornwall Police is clear: put safety first this year.
Everyone should be following COVID-19 social distancing measures, including the ‘rule of six’. This means that meeting in a group of more than six people, including children of any age, is against the law.
Fires and firework displays held at home can be very dangerous. Every year, an average of 127 fires in homes and buildings in the UK are started by fireworks and the majority of firework-related injuries happen at private displays.
The more people who have their own displays, the higher the likelihood of serious accidents or injury which places an unnecessary burden on all the emergency services at a time when they are already busier than usual due to coronavirus.
Holding bonfires on public land, like in parks, is not permitted. Bonfires are damaging to the environment and to wildlife, especially hedgehogs looking for somewhere to hibernate.
It is also an offence to throw or discharge a firework in a street or public place and this can result in prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000.
Deputy leader of Plymouth City Council, Pete Smith said: “Sadly it simply isn’t possible for us to host a safe Bonfire Night event this year as we couldn’t ensure social distancing with the size of the crowds that normally head to Plymouth Hoe.
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“We’re fully intent on bringing back our spectacular event for everyone to enjoy in 2021, but this year we’re encouraging you not to attempt your own celebrations at home – please put safety first. Stay safe, don’t gather in groups of more than six and follow the public health guidelines. Together we will protect the NHS and help all those working hard in the emergency services.”
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service area manager Darren Peters: “This Bonfire Night we are asking you to stay safe and protect the NHS. We’d prefer you to avoid home bonfires and fireworks as they can cause incidents and injury which can put pressure on our emergency services.
“If you insist on doing something at home, keep fires and fireworks small. Make sure you store fireworks safely, and keep fires and fireworks well away from anything that could burn, such as sheds, fences and your home. Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby, and never leave anything unattended.”
You can find more important safety advice about bonfires and fireworks at dsfire.gov.uk.