Mechelen and Willebroek opt for firework ban on New Year's Eve
The city of Mechelen and the municipality of Willebroek have issued a general fireworks ban on New Year's Eve. The weather forecast is poor, with rain and strong winds of up to 80 km per hour, which could contribute to dangerous conditions for fireworks.
A ban is already in place for the entire province of East Flanders. In the province of Antwerp, the use of private fireworks is also banned in the vast majority of cities and municipalities. Mechelen and Willebroek were two of the only local governments where fireworks could still be set off by individuals on New Year's Eve under certain conditions.
Provincial governor Cathy Berx had asked local councils talk again to their safety cell about a possible ban on fireworks, given the weather forecasts. "Specialists stress the danger of unpredictable wind directions, potentially causing damage to homes and even fire hazards," Mechelen and Willebroek said in a joint announcement. "General safety here is far above any revelry that fireworks can bring."
The police will be extra vigilant on Sunday night and take action where necessary. Local authorities say they are "counting on common sense to prevail" and hope residents comply with the ban. Violators risk fines of up to several hundred euros.
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