Page last updated at 10:40 GMT, Tuesday, 26 October 2004 11:40 UK

Poppy ban at remembrance service

Poppy
Fire inspectors say the poppies are a fire hazard

Councillors in the Black Country are to fight a health and safety ban on plans for a poppy shower at a Remembrance Day service.

Sandwell Council had planned to drop the poppies from the roof of West Bromwich Town Hall at the service on 14 November.

But fire inspectors say the paper poppies could constitute a fire hazard and the shower should be cancelled.

The council says it will do all it can to reinstate the tradition.

'Strange decision'

Keith Davies, the council's cabinet member for community, neighbourhood services and safety, said: "I will be pursuing this to see where they're coming from and I'm going to see the actual problem area.

"Even if it means I've got to do it myself and take a fire extinguisher, I'm determined it's going to go ahead.

"Poppies will be falling on 14 November."

The paper poppy shower has been part of West Bromwich Town Hall's Remembrance Day celebrations since before World War II.

The issue arose after fire inspectors said they were unhappy with the way in which the poppies were distributed from the roof space of the town hall.

Jim Onions, from West Midlands Fire Service, said they had a legal requirement to act after concerns were raised by a worker at the town hall.

He told BBC WM the issue was about the "wholly inappropriate" method of getting to the roof space for the six workers who would have to release the poppies.

Mr Onions added: "If there were to be a fire, these people would have to crawl backwards and down the vertical ladders. We can't allow their safety to be compromised.

"Just because it hasn't happened in the past, doesn't mean it can't happen. There are no fire alarms and no sprinklers (in the building).

"If we were to allow this to continue and there were a fire and somebody was injured or killed, you would be demanding answers from ourselves."

But Mr Davies said: "It seems very strange that we have been doing this for the past 50-odd years and all of a sudden, it's a health and safety issue."

The decision comes after several decisions relating to the banning of bonfires in the West Midlands to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night.



FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
IC Birmingham Outrage over ban on poppy shower - 1 hr ago
The Sun Loony 'unsafe' poppy ban - 23 hrs ago
Sky News 'Remembrance Poppies Are Fire Hazard' - 25 hrs ago
Daily Mail Poppy tribute banned as fire hazard - 29 hrs ago
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