The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) East is appealing for local authorities in Suffolk responsible for issuing Entertainment Licences to take action and prohibit the use of sky lanterns (also known as Chinese lanterns).
With the festive season and New Year’s in particular inviting an upsurge in use, the CLA fears that it is only a matter of time before there is a serious accident.
CLA East regional director Nicola Currie said: “Sky lanterns are serious fire hazards, they also endanger the lives of grazing livestock as well as other wildlife, and create unnecessary litter.
“Those releasing lanterns have no idea of the hazard they pose, nor do they consider the implications of releasing a naked flame with absolutely no control over where it will land.
“Lanterns that land in fields can get chopped up when farmers mow for silage or hay, resulting in fragments of wire in the forage.
“Cows, which naturally tend to chew things to check them out, get the wire trapped in their gut, resulting in an agonising, slow death for the animal.”
Councillors from The Vale of White Horse District Council in Oxfordshire have already taken note of growing public opinion, and have added a condition to their Entertainment Licence policy so new licences for a venue or an event now prohibit sky lanterns.
This has been backed up by a ban on council-owned land.
Councillor Robert Sharp from the district council told the CLA that adding the banning clause to their Entertainment Licences meant the process is then implemented automatically upon licence renewal at no additional cost – with the whole district eventually being covered.
The Royal Parks have a similar ban in place – they search for, and confiscate, sky lanterns brought in by those attending events on their property.
Many countries have already banned the use of sky lanterns, including Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Spain Germany and parts of the USA.
CLA East is looking to collect evidence of damage caused by sky lanterns to take to Government.
Those who have experienced problems caused by sky lanterns falling on their land should contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01638 590429, or address tweets to @CLAEast
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (January 9) Echo.