Commonwealth Games and beyond- fireworks are harming wildlife

Now that the pointless Commonwealth Games of Birmingham are history, it is clear to see that the boasts of “carbon neutrality” and other buzz phrases were part of an orchestrated hoax by the event organisers, and enthusiastically backed by many a pointless politician. The one thing that these people seem to enjoy is a basic shock and awe firework show, and they continue to resist bans on fireworks on Guy Fawkes night firework events as well as meaningless fantasy religious festivals to commemorate events which never even happened in real history. Are you sick and tired of the bangs – yes it really pisses me off too and I do not want it for a fucking three months!

The Commonwealth Games was typical of wanting to let off some bangs, as is standard for sporting event ceremonies it seems. On seeing the set up, I was concerned at the likelihood of fireworks being launched from the lake next to The Alexander Stadium, where the opening ceremony was to take place. I also made the RSPCA aware of this as it could have resulted in problems for roosting birds as well as other animals in the vicinity. I also contacted the parks manager for the area at BCC outlining my concerns but received no response. 


The spud barge on the lake with fireworks primed by a company called “Titanium Fireworks Limited”

These fireworks were let off on that night, and also for the closing ceremony. In light of this I put in an FOI to Birmingham City Council regards how this had been decided.


Picture- Birmingham Live. Spud barge and fireworks shown top left from the lake in Perry Park.

On 25th July 2022 industrial fireworks were let off in the dark from an anchored spud barge next to The Alexander Stadium as part of the CG22 opening ceremony. Pictures of this were published on the Birmingham Live website, and in the week proceeding, I witnessed Titanium Fireworks Ltd setting up and testing rockets from this barge.
As landowners of this lake and site, please provide by electronic means any communications to yourself indicating that this company/organisers of the games would be releasing fireworks from the lake environment.
Can you confirm that you were given or took part in any risk assessment regards letting fireworks off from this lake.
Please disclose any communications involving this risk assessment, including the document itself.
Please disclose any observations/comments or concerns that officers of the council expressed concerning letting off fireworks to the organisers/pyrotechnic company with regard to animal welfare and roosting birds on this lake. If none was made, then please indicate that this was the case.”

The council replied with a large 69 page PDF of emails and attachments which were jumbled up in no particular order.

This can be read unedited HERE, and much of it consists of disclaimer notices with some repetition of emails. I have pieced this jigsaw together and put the key and interesting documents together in chronological order. In general, it appears that some officers in the City Council WERE also concerned about the fireworks impact on wildfowl on this lake, and also the pollution that chemicals being set off would leave behind. Their views were however snuffed out by that blob of inconsequential unnamed who were organising the ceremony. Their name redactions make it very difficult to work out which body was communicating with whom. It does appear that this was a fairly late in the day request with just 4 months from the idea being pitched.

30/3/22 email from venue management ceremonies to BCC?

This requests details of who should be contacted, making it clear that the ceremonies team had had the idea.



30/3/22 Someone from BCC replies, presumably in a senior position and forwards the email on. 


6/4/22 Emails within BCC to different departments within the council asking for views from them. 


7/4/22 Someone from Alexander Stadium explains that a BCC team has been working with the organising committee. I am confused here as to whether they mean Birmingham City Council , or “Birmingham Commonwealth Ceremonies”. Either way, it once again shows that this was a late in the day request and had not really been thought out that well- hence the request for who the stakeholders were.



7/4/22 email from BCC ranger service based at Kings Heath.

In response to the consultation, the rangers do clearly state that the lake has a population of wildfowl and that they would still be likely to be nesting.


7/4/22 BCC arboriculture environmental input appears to echo that of their colleagues, but further expands on the dangers of fireworks.

Not only are the noise issues raised, but also the litter from fireworks, and potential chemical contaminants. It also states that balloon and Chinese lantern releases have already been banned by BCC for this very reason.


Undated April but part of response from officer in BCC connected with flood risk.  States that they would have “major concerns” about a pontoon being anchored on this lake.


7/4/22 Response from Alexander Stadium thanking for feedback, which they would later ignore.


10/5/22 Email from CG organising committee to respondents claiming that comments had been taken on board. This asked for just three days to respond with any objections to 4 documents which had prepared. These were supplied in the email and I have broken them down into separate PDF’s to discuss each in turn. The two plans can be found at the very end of the 69 page email chain supplied with the request.



perry barr fireworks method statement

This statement is dated 28th April 2022, so 3 weeks after the BCC internal comments.

It is stated that the pontoon would be built on site and that a 60 second firework barrage would be let off from this vessel comprising 75mm and 100 mm shell racks. One wonders for such a great deal of set up why this crazy plan would only deliver 1 minute spectacle? What was the point, as it certainly was not worth all the time that went into the idea? What a waste of money these people have to burn!

An itinerary starting on 21st July would see the barge set up and the first stage ending with the opening ceremony on 28th July. It is stated that there would be a test firing event, and this is what I directly observed, and which prompted my complaint because of the noise and impacts I knew it would have.



Pontoon being set up on 22/7/22

This would be repeated on the closing ceremony on August 8th. It is claimed that a boat would scan the reservoir for debris, but how would this be possible when there are extensive reed bed areas, and some debris could have already sunk? There are also large areas of overgrown bramble.


Yes, I’m sure they went looking for paper and other chemical residue fragments in all that…..


I would also point out, and none of the respondents from BCC pointed out, that there is an immediate outfall from this lake and the position of the pontoon which flows into a brook which leads into the River Tame. If they came back the next day to look for debris, it would most likely have “gone down the shitter” the night before they launched the boat. Of course, it’s convenient that they do not look at that offsite pathway is it not?



The risk assessment considers debris fallout and wind speed, where it is claimed that certain parts of the display could be terminated “with the click of a mouse” if they exceeded certain criteria levels.

The model appears to show potential debris beyond the lake itself and onto the Canal and embankment towards the direction of the M6. Whatever their claims about not creating an issue with this highway, the effects of a sudden burst like this would certainly create a distraction for drivers! Of course, all the birds at roost on the lake would be in the firing line, but this is not considered. 




The Perry Reservoir embankment from the Tame Valley Canal, with the M6 bridge in view

It claims that the only hazardous substances are the class 1.3G fireworks themselves, though it does not state the chemical makeup of those dangerous substances contained within each shell.

It is claimed that the reading of up to 93 db from the fireworks would be detectable, and yet in the valley from which the lake is set, I believe that the delayed echo that reverberated around the area was in excess of this, and to state that it would be no louder than a propeller noise and a hairdryer FFS is absurd!

The claim that there is no chemical residue from the fireworks not being detrimental to the environment is also debateable, as we shall see.

They also claim that it would not need any security, yet it was quite evident that plod was on hand to guard the explosives and the operators on at least one occasion when I took the picture below on 28/7/22- the day of the opening ceremony.


It is also revealed that Titanium fireworks are resp0nsible for Khant’s London firework display, so are used to putting on firework displays of pompous grandeur from the public purse.

Perry reservoir pyrotechnics operations plan


The loaded explosives are ready to go

This 6 pager consists of guff about the Commonwealth Games and reveals that “Birmingham Ceremonies Limited” is a company which the organising committee have appointed to run the opening and closing ceremonies. Set up in 2020, this company has two directors, a Simon Pizey and Gary Beestone.  In 2021 they moved from London to Birmingham, maybe it was with Stella and the dreamers.

It is clear to see that they only considered the police and fire service and departments within BCC to be relevant stakeholders, and therefore no other body such as the RSPCA. There is not much else in this plan that is not already included in the other previous document.


9/6/22 Someone in BCC stating that there were no objections from the supervising engineer regards heavy machinery or digging in the dam.



10/6/22 Unknown to people in BCC, but presumably from Commonwealth Games organisers. 

This tripe opens with a bland statement about potential negative impacts being unavoidable. I would state that the whole lake firework spectacle was pointless and avoidable to start with, contributed nothing whatsoever to the opening ceremony, and was a negative impact on the wildlife on this lake. The titanium fireworks environmental policy I will look at further on.

It talks of “anecdotal evidence” of no harm to wildfowl in displays of greater size- well of course they would say that wouldn’t they?

No survey of the lake appears to have been done of nesting birds before the firework people arrived on site. This is an oversight from Birmingham City Council, and they should have insisted that one was done.



titanium fireworks environmental policy

This company bang on about their “carbon footprint”, but this is not bloody relevant to anything associated with real environmental damage- i.e the chemicals in the fireworks- most of which are supplied by Fu Manchu land. 

They talk about generally not using fireworks that contain plastic, but it is not clear if they used these at this display.

Their claim that what is left over from fireworks is “inert” is debateable. They even have the guile to mention the RSPCA and its largely anti fireworks display message, yet this organisation I believe did raise concerns after I had contacted them about the proposed display. Here is what the RSPCA say about fireworks. 

And so, to the main beef- the pollution from fireworks in chemical form. They disingenuously state “there is an ongoing discussion within the fireworks industry about the use of perchlorate and other metal compounds … (in).. fireworks.” 

In other words, this industry is fully aware that these are harmful to receptors and the environment but pretend they are not. This article sets this record straight with the dangers of the chemicals in fireworks.

“The colours of fireworks are the result of chemistry and physics made visible. Specifically, fireworks’ colours depend upon solid metal salts and chemical explosives (this is the chemistry part) that create colours when heated to the correct temperatures (this is the physics part).

 Different metal compounds give different colours. For example, lithium (Li) salts produce pink, sodium (Na) salts make yellow or orange, copper (Cu) and barium (Ba) salts generate green or blue, and calcium (Ca) or strontium (Sr) give red.”
“During the explosion, these metal salts do not ‘burn up’. They are still metal atoms, and many of them are end up as aerosols that poison the air, the water and the soil. When inhaled or ingested, these metals can cause a huge variety of short- and long-term reactions, ranging from vomiting, diarrhea or asthma attacks, to kidney disease, cardiotoxic effects and a variety of cancers.”
Many displays produce elevated levels of chemicals in the air which could be harmful to human health. These chemicals are not those which break down or are “inert” and quite the opposite can persist in soils and other matter for longer than the 60 second barrage that they were birthed from. 
The graphic below summarises the issues. 
firework pollution
Perchlorate fireworks poison wildlife. Perchlorate blocks iodine uptake by the body’s thyroid glands, reducing their ability to produce sufficient levels of thyroid hormone. They are a particular danger to pregnant women. 
It is the solubility of these chemicals that make it more dangerous, and so firing this over water was a foolish action by the ceremonies display organisers and all those involved in these games. The fact that it would also have migrated off site via the River Tame, which was not even mentioned in any of the method statements make it even more unforgiveable.
Send endocrine disruptors down the river, is the legacy of Birmingham 2022. 
It appears that Birmingham have applied for the European Athletics Championships in 2026 at the same site. I hope they fail in that bid, and we do not get a repeat of the spectacle from 2022
Elsewhere locally despite the claimed “cost of living crisis”, events involving large firework displays are to go ahead in Sandwell and Dudley. They obviously enjoy burning our money, as well as polluting the environment with the aforementioned chemicals. WILL THEY NEVER LEARN? 
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