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Safety first for big Worcester fireworks display near motorway
THE organisers of this year’s firework display at Worcester’s Sixways stadium have reassured the public that safety has been paramount and they have paid close attention to the events leading up to last year’s Taunton motorway pile-up which killed seven people.
And they have been supported by council experts who say they have no concerns about the event.
Taunton event organiser Geoffrey Counsell is facing seven counts of man-slaughter following the crash on the M5 on November 4 last year when seven people died and 51 were injured.
The crash, involving 34 vehicles, is believed to have happened as smoke from the nearby display at Taunton Rugby Club drifted across the foggy carriageway.
But although Sixways is close to junction 6 of the M5, the rugby club points out that there is no bonfire at its Classic Disney Fireworks show at 7.30pm on Saturday.
Warriors managing director Charlie Little said safety was of “paramount importance” to the club and said it was important to note that the Sixways event does not include a bonfire due to the stadium’s close proximity to the M5 and A449.
“We have obviously taken note of the terrible tragedy that took place near Taunton Rugby Club last year,” said Mr Little.
“We always use a professional specialist fireworks company to run the show. They follow all the relevant regulations and legislation and we are proud of our record of hosting one of the biggest and best fireworks displays in the region.”
Simon Wilkes, business manager for Worcester-shire Regulatory Services, said: “The Highways Act 1980 forbids the discharge of fireworks within 50ft of the centre of a highway without lawful authority or excuse.
"Sixways stadium is located further than 50ft from the M5 motorway. The club at Sixways is licensed for a wide variety of activities, so no additional licences are required for this event.
“The club also hosts a safety advisory group, which includes officers from partners including the police, county council and Worcestershire Regul-atory Services.
“The partners work together with the club to ensure the smooth and safe running of events at the stadium and the firework display is no exception.
"Given that the event has gone off without significant incident for the past few years, there are no particular concerns for this one.”
Counsell, aged 50, from Somerset, is due to appear at Bristol Magistrates Court next month.