The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has called for a ban on sky lanterns – often referred to as “Chinese lanterns” – to cut the risk of fires and livestock deaths.
CLA President Harry Cotterell said: “The concept of launching a flaming bonfire into the night sky with absolutely no idea of where it will land has always seemed reckless and bizarre. It is clear that sky lanterns represent a wholly unnecessary risk to property, woodland, crops, moorland and livestock.
“Many millions of pounds of damage has been caused by fires started by sky lanterns. Worse still, 11 firefighters were hurt by the recent blaze at a Midland plastics recycling plant which was ignited by a sky lantern.”
Nicola Currie, Director CLA East, said: “Even when sky lanterns don’t start fires, they are extremely dangerous to cattle which are likely to ingest them, either because the frame gets chopped up when mowing for silage or hay and little bits of wire get preserved in the forage or because the lantern lands in grazing and cows naturally tend to chew on things to check them out. When this happens the wire punctures their gut and they die an agonising, slow death from peritonitis.
“Wildlife is likely to suffer in a similar way.
“It is to be hoped that now the public will fully understand the risks and stop using these lanterns. In this, events organisers can make a real contribution by encouraging people to abandon their use. The owners of event venues can go even further by banning them. We shall certainly be urging all our members who own or operate such venues to take this action.”