Councils urged to ban sky lanterns

30 December 2020

A picture of a sky lantern glowing in the night sky

With New Year’s Eve approaching and families encouraged to stay at home this year, the NFU is asking people not to release sky lanterns because of the dangers they pose to livestock, buildings, and the environment.

The NFU’s campaign has so far resulted in 175 councils across England and Wales banning the release of sky lanterns on council property. However, there are over 180 councils who are yet to ban them.

Speaking in December 2020, former NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts said: “To put it bluntly, any sky lantern sent up to celebrate the New Year could ruin a farmer’s 2021 before it has barely begun, not to mention the unnecessary litter it creates across our beautiful countryside.”

Due to the impacts sky lanterns can have on farmers and livestock, the countryside and the emergency services during an already difficult time, the NFU is asking the public to join the thousands of people who have already written to their local authorities urging them to ban these lanterns.

A fire in the West Midlands, caused by a lantern, saw 39 fire appliances and more than 200 firefighters in attendance, tackling the blaze over several days.

Three sky lanterns in the sky

Mr Roberts added: “It is amazing to see the support this campaign has already received, both from the general public and organisations such as the National Fire Chiefs Council. While they may look pretty in the sky, what goes up must come down and the NFU has heard from many farmers about the devasting impact sky lanterns can have, from causing distressing injuries to livestock who may ingest the debris, to loss of entire buildings.

“The NFU would like to see a total ban of sky lanterns across England and Wales to safeguard property and animals. While we have already seen numerous councils ban sky lanterns, I would encourage the remaining local authorities to follow the good examples set by others across the country to avoid heightened and unnecessary strain to our already stretched emergency services.”

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