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Cambridge City Council

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New Government Winter Plan leads to cancellation of Cambridge's Fireworks and Bonfire Night

News release from 22 September 2021

Following the publication of the Government’s Winter Plan, Cambridge City Council has announced today that it cannot proceed with the annual Bonfire Night celebration on Midsummer Common.

This year’s event has been cancelled due to the possibility, set out in the Winter Plan, that vaccine passports could be required at short notice for large outdoor events. The very difficult decision has been taken because vaccine passports cannot be safely and practically checked at the Midsummer Common event.

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “It is with great reluctance and huge sadness we have arrived at this position. Our free, open-access Bonfire Night is enjoyed by well over 20,000 people every year. Up until the publication of the Winter Plan we had been aiming to go ahead. We had hoped free, large scale outdoor events would be given some certainty in the Winter Plan, but the opposite is true – we have much less certainty that we did before.

“I know that residents will be incredibly disappointed by this decision but keeping local people safe has been our top priority from the very start of this pandemic,” Cllr Smith continued. “Unlike ticketed events in secure locations, we could not safely control access to Midsummer Common or other areas nearby if we had to check proof of vaccine. What makes it even more difficult is that we cannot insure against the loss of public funds if we go ahead with our planning and have to cancel at short notice. Frankly, we are in a no-win situation.

“I’m so disappointed that we have to make this decision for the second year in a row. I hope that next year we will all be able to enjoy watching the fireworks together. In the meantime, we will work hard to make sure that there are other events over the winter which light up the winter nights and bring us together as a community.”

Working in partnership with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, the council will instead share ideas about how local people can enjoy fireworks safely and protect themselves from Covid-19.