MEASURES to crack down on firework terror were unveiled today.
The proposals were announced by trade secretary Patricia Hewitt.
They will restrict the use and sale of fireworks and should be in force before Christmas this year.
They are contained in the new Fireworks Act, and were not expected to come into force until next year.
But the Government is to fast-track those elements which deal with anti-social behaviour.
John Woodhead, chairman of the Kirkburton-based British Fireworks Association, welcomed the plans.
"We support fully the Government's aims and welcome them wholeheartedly," he said.
He was keen to see further legislation to more tightly control imported fireworks and their distribution from the "port of entry to the point of sale."
Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood, whose campaign for tighter restrictions on fireworks preceded the Act, said: "I'm disappointed that the measures aren't already in force - communities feel under siege at this time of year as the misuse of fireworks escalates.
"I am pleased however that the Government is to bring forward the introduction of the measures which are most eagerly awaited."
By Christmas, a curfew for the use of fireworks will be created, possession of fireworks by minors will become an offence and there will be implementation of the firework industry's voluntary ban on air bombs.
The Act's other main provisions - maximum noise limit, licensing of suppliers, rules for public firework displays, importation of fireworks and training of public display operators - will be implemented in the new year.
The new measures also include a and a drive to encourage local councils to use their powers to curb firework noise and nuisance.
An agreement with the firework industry will restrict their sale to three weeks before November 5, for a few days afterwards and for a similar period over the New Year.
Ms Hewitt said:
"People across the UK are sick of being terrorised by irresponsible use of fireworks. We want to drive the fireworks thugs off the street and will use the full force of law to tackle those who are making the lives of others a misery in this way."
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