A long held Armistice Day tradition of marking the start of the two minute silence by launching a maroon rocket will end this year, thanks to new European Union (EU) health and safety rules.
As of next year, manufacturers of the rockets will be unable to sell the items unless they give buyers specialist training in how to use them, which is likely to be too expensive to justify, The Times has reported.
EU officials insist the training is required as the rockets are classified as a “high hazard”.
The new law creates two new categories for pyrotechnics: P1, which will be available on general sale, and P2, which can be bought only by people who have undergone training.
The British Pyrotechnists Association said: “The cost of certifying each product as P2 is too much for the 50 or so items a company might sell in November.”
Although the law won’t apply until next year, its introduction has meant that there is already a shortage of maroon rockets on offer, causing some organisations to switch to other methods of marking the silence this year.
Peterborough City Council has already announced that it will be using a whistle, rather than a rocket, to mark the start of two minutes of remembrance in Peterborough this Friday.
A spokesman for the council told Peterborough Today: “Armistice rockets are a specialist product and are manufactured to order and made in Europe. From next year EU legislation makes it a requirement that in order for Star Fireworks to legally supply these rockets to us we must have undertaken the training recognised within the industry which we have not yet been offered.
“We understand that Star Rockets is the only company that has offered this service and imported these rockets and they do not believe there is much, if any, stock within the country. We have contacted a local company which supplies rocket maroons however these travel across the ground and not up into the sky.”
Graham Casey, a Peterborough city councillor, said that the new law was scandalous. He added: “I think the EU should remember freedom in Europe exists as a result of people who gave their lives in the world wars. Health and safety gone mad doesn’t help anybody.
“Remembrance Day should be about remembering people who made the ultimate sacrifice and I think the EU should worry about issues that are of more significance than a firework.”
Although the British people voted to leave the EU in a referendum over the summer, EU laws still apply until Brexit is finalised.