Call for councils to ban sky lanterns

Rural business leaders are calling on local authorities to ban sky lanterns.

The Chinese lanterns, which rise into the air powered by a flame often descend on fields and rural areas causing a threat to livestock and farm buildings.

The possible danger was raised locally after a sky lantern came down on a farm at Pett close to hay which was being stored.

Sky lanterns have been blamed for causing a number of fires when they land - often miles from where they were launched.

They have also been blamed for causing livestock deaths after animals ingest the metal or bamboo frames.

A handful of councils have banned the lanterns, which campaigners say can harm livestock and are a fire risk.

The bans have been introduced by councils is Suffolk and Essex, Now The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which has been campaigning for a nation-wide ban for two years, wants other district councils to follow suite.

The CLA has previously called for local authorities to amend entertainment licence policy so new licences for certain venues or events can include a clause prohibiting the use of sky lanterns.

CLA eastern region director Nicola Currie said: “Waveney and Suffolk Coastal District Councils have to be applauded for taking this stance on sky lanterns – but now we need other district councils in Suffolk, and throughout the country, to follow suit.

“We have campaigned hard for a long time to raise the awareness of the dangers of sky lanterns to people and their homes, livestock, the environment, and the rural economy as whole.

“People need to realise that if they release one of these lanterns into the sky they risk being responsible for the slow and very painful death of a cow or other grazing livestock, or a fire that destroys someone’s home, business or life.

“The CLA will be continuing its work at a national level lobbying for a parliamentary debate on the issue.”