Drones v Fireworks

Every year Bath Rotary Club raises thousands of pounds for charity with a spectacular firework show on The Rec. This year’s event is already being planned for November 5th.

Several people have asked Bath Newseum why the organisers down consider putting on a drone show instead. These amazing events are certainly growing in popularity and one was held at Weston super Mare seafront a couple of weeks ago.

Some people feel it means less noise to frighten pets and wildlife and less pollution too.

I put this to Christopher Davies at Bath Rotary who told me:

“The issue of drones has been considered but the main problem is the relative cost. 

As things stand at the moment, the actual fireworks themselves cost around £13,000- £14,000, but putting on the whole event costs a lot more than that. 

After paying for professional security, fencing and toilet hire, plus the fees we have to pay to BANES for licences and road closures, and the company who undertakes the road closure, on-site medical services, plus printing of tickets, posters etc, the total cost of the 25-minute event is something like £10,000 more, so a total of £23,000 to £25,000. The fireworks are the biggest single item, but only about 56% of the total cost.   

 From what we can discover, a drone display is time limited – ten minutes seems about the maximum.  And expensive. ( Chris was quoted £100k by one company).

The fireworks are run to raise money for charity, so controlling costs is a key element. We also believe there is a safety element to a large public display: it replaces small family gatherings in back gardens which can be dangerous – the Fire Brigade tells us accidents have reduced in the time the display and accompanying school safety competition have been running, which is why they support us.

Fireworks remain popular with many, and in fairness were involved, alongside drones, at the recent Queen’s Jubilee.  They were a feature of Glastonbury this year too.  The noise is unpopular by some; many others find it thrilling and exciting. 

We are pleased our fireworks supplier, Paines, are very alive to their environmental responsibilities.  They now offset the carbon of every display: https://www.painsfireworks.com/enviromental

And as Paines point out, the fireworks, in a medium-sized display like ours, produce the same amount of carbon as a car travelling 20 miles.  That seems reasonable to us.

All that said, we keep the matter under active review: if there are alternatives that could attract the same numbers and raise the same amount for charity as the annual fireworks display, we’d consider it.”

This year’s planned display at Bath Rec is on Saturday, November 5th from 6.00pm to 6.30 pm.