Monthly Archives: December 2011

Chairs Report – November 2011

From the Chairman of the BPA:

Yet another season done – with its ups and downs – and now behind us! It would seem that with one notable exception November has passed really rather well. I have heard on no serious incidents that have been directly attributed to firework displays. There have been a couple of thefts, but unless everyone tells me different, I think this is somewhat down on last year.

However; there was the M5 crash. The police immediately chose to link fireworks and a criminal investigation. This knee jerk interview sent the media into frenzy with requests for interviews originating from all parts of the country. Clearly our sympathies go to all of those involved in the incident, as well as their friends and families; nobody would wish such a crash in any event. The incident has still not been fully investigated and it would now seem that fireworks smoke may not have played a significant part. The truth is that we simply do not know until the report is published, but it does seem that blame has been quick to be placed at the fireworks display. I wish I could quote from an article (in the Mail I think) where the journalist was asking why the nation has an insatiable need to find blame well in advance of a full investigation.

How many of us would like our displays to be videoed and then have that film go ‘viral’. Pyro 1 has certainly achieved fame for their somewhat fore shorted display at Oban. Advertising and publicity like that could not be bought for cash – well done Martin!

On behalf of the BPA I recently attended the penultimate meeting of the CEN working group on CAT 4 fireworks. The forum consists of all members of the EU and met in Delft. The standard for Europe is being written in English and thanks in very large part to Dr Tom Smith is very much written in the way that suits the way the UK operate at present. My involvement was to help the group choose the correct implementation of the standard (our way!) and to make sure the use of English was correct.

To matters more directly in our control namely the exam system (BPA levels 1 & 2). It is very pleasing that a large number of operators have taken the exam and have their qualifications resulting. This exam will gain yet more meaning very soon as a result of the meeting in Delft. The European standard is now very close to being agreed by all member states, within this set of papers the phrase ‘Person with specialist knowledge’ is used extensively. It is a fact that the BPA exam can be used to prove such knowledge. The exam system has gained considerable credibility among those who are charged with enforcement.

November is done, time to plan for next year. Good luck to those involved with the New Years Eve celebrations both big and small. Also good luck to those charged with the fireworks for next years UK sports day!