Bid to axe charity fireworks over ‘war zone’ claim

Mairianna Clyde claims the ground was shaking at last year's display. Picture: Esme Allen
Mairianna Clyde claims the ground was shaking at last year's display. Picture: Esme Allen
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A CHARITY fireworks display to raise money for destitute children in India is under threat after residents complained the noise at last year’s event was like “a war zone”.

More than 100 people have called for the cancellation of two fireworks shows being held at George Watson’s rugby ground in Merchiston on November 3.

They claimed noise from displays made the ground shake and could terrify the elderly, lead to hearing problems for children and even damage buildings.

The event, run by the 
Edinburgh-based charity Scottish Love in Action, is in its third year and raised more than £24,000 in 2012.

More than 4500 tickets to the fireworks shows and fete were sold last year, with the proceeds going towards food, clothing, housing and medical care for more than 500 children in south-east India.

While residents are happy for the event – which will also have pipe bands, fire eaters, community choirs and food stalls – to take place, they want to see the two 15-minute firework displays scrapped and replaced with something
quieter.

Merchiston resident David Munro likened last year’s event to a “war zone”, and said the fireworks were not suitable given the site is close to several nature reserves at Craiglockhart Hill, adding: “There are also a number of elderly residents in care homes, nursing homes and sheltered housing complexes in the area, all having an expectation and a right to live life without having to cope with a disturbance of this kind.”

Merchiston Community Council chairwoman Mairianna Clyde said of last year’s event: “The ground was shaking if you were right next to it. I’m concerned about hearing loss for children and big bangs, the effect on people and buildings as well.

“They’re a charity, but I think that just because you’re a charity and you’ve got a great cause, I don’t think that gives you carte blanche to terrorise other people.”

Alan Dickson, chairman of Craiglockhart Community Council, called for strict noise restrictions to be set, adding: “If the noise from the last two years’ events is repeated, it is likely to cause distress to local people, pets and wildlife.”

A petition to stop the displays has won written backing from two community councils, despite the Capital’s 
reputation as the home of world-renowned festivals.

Scottish Love in Action executive director Colin McRae said the charity event had been originally organised because there had been community demand. He said: “We’re keen for this event to continue because it’s well respected and well liked in the community, but also it provides significant funding for our charity.”

Permission for the Merchiston fireworks will be reviewed by the city’s licensing sub-
committee on Friday.