Fireworks furore after National Physical Laboratory ball

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Scared: NPL's staff ball caused the disturbance Scared: NPL's staff ball caused the disturbance

A riding school said an unexpected fireworks display nearby caused chaos at its stables when its frightened horses escaped.

Park Lane Stables, Teddington, claimed the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) did not give any prior warning about its staff ball.

Horses scared by the loud bangs broke free but workers at the family-run stables rounded them up before they reached the road. Residents in Queen’s Road also said they were shaken by sudden “explosions” that woke their children and terrified their pets on Saturday, June 16.

The NPL said it warned its immediate neighbours about the event but did not expect the fireworks to disturb people living further away.

Natalie O'Rourke, of Park Lane Stables, said it was not able to use some of its horses for lessons the following day because they were too nervous.

She said: “It was chaos here really, if we’d known we’d have taken them away to paddocks. They didn’t get out onto road but got out of the stables and were running around distressed.

“Normally they let us know, we’ve got system in place and we can deal with it. We had no idea it was going ahead.”

Neighbour Clarys Williams, 62, complained to the NPL about the fireworks.

She said: “These weren’t just fireworks, they were like pyrotechnics.

“I must have got home at about 11.10pm, [my cat] Sam was cowering behind the sofa and wouldn’t come out for two hours.”

She added: “On new years’ eve you expect fireworks at midnight, but you’re prepared.”

Stephen Hyett, 63, added: “We had some friends around for dinner and at about 10.50pm we heard an almighty boom. We had no idea what it was - we thought it was a bomb.”

A spokesman for the NPL said: “I can confirm that there was a fireworks display as part of the NPL staff ball on Saturday, June 16.

“A couple of our neighbours have been in touch regarding the display and we are responding to them directly.

“We did inform residents in the immediate vicinity of the National Physical Laboratory, but clearly the fireworks could be heard further away than we had anticipated.”

Comments (3)

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12:56pm Tue 26 Jun 12

Twickenham resident says...

The fireworks could be heard in Twickenham. Entirely thoughtless and selfish organisers caused anxiety and great distress to so many animals.

There is absolutely NO need for fireworks to make such huge explosions and those that do should be banned.

I hope the NPL is fined for breaching regulations.
The fireworks could be heard in Twickenham. Entirely thoughtless and selfish organisers caused anxiety and great distress to so many animals. There is absolutely NO need for fireworks to make such huge explosions and those that do should be banned. I hope the NPL is fined for breaching regulations. Twickenham resident
  • Score: 0

1:16pm Tue 26 Jun 12

SBradbury says...

The first firework did indeed sound like a bomb - I thought the NPL had blown up in some mad science experiment!

The person that was in charge of buying the 'fireworks' clearly didn't do their research into how loud they were. I know someone in St Margarets that heard them! I would suggest a change to the firework procurement team and ensure all residents are informed in future!

I live on Queens Road and can hear the deer 'mooing' (or what ever it is they do) in the park, so it stands to reason we're going to be able to hear even the mildest of fireworks.

I would have thought with all the brain power employed at the NPL that they would have been able to work out they needed to send a letter to more than just Admiralty Way...
The first firework did indeed sound like a bomb - I thought the NPL had blown up in some mad science experiment! The person that was in charge of buying the 'fireworks' clearly didn't do their research into how loud they were. I know someone in St Margarets that heard them! I would suggest a change to the firework procurement team and ensure all residents are informed in future! I live on Queens Road and can hear the deer 'mooing' (or what ever it is they do) in the park, so it stands to reason we're going to be able to hear even the mildest of fireworks. I would have thought with all the brain power employed at the NPL that they would have been able to work out they needed to send a letter to more than just Admiralty Way... SBradbury
  • Score: 0

4:47pm Sun 1 Jul 12

James Page (Green Party) says...

Poor horses. I enjoy watching fireworks as much as anyone else but they are by nature intrusive and there use in private events like this should definitely not be encouraged. And if the party goers read the list of heavy metals therein they wouldn't want too many..
Poor horses. I enjoy watching fireworks as much as anyone else but they are by nature intrusive and there use in private events like this should definitely not be encouraged. And if the party goers read the list of heavy metals therein they wouldn't want too many.. James Page (Green Party)
  • Score: 0

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