Warning over release of sky lanterns on New Year’s Eve

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses has warned the public against releasing sky lanterns to celebrate the New Year.

The organisation called the lanterns “flying bonfires” and said that without an outright ban fires will spread quickly and animals will die.

CLA President Henry Robinson said: “These flying bonfires are a menace to the countryside. There is no responsible way to use them. They are serious fire hazards and endanger the lives of grazing livestock and other wildlife.

“Those releasing lanterns have no idea of the risk they pose, nor do they consider the implications of releasing a naked flame with absolutely no control over where it will land.

“Lanterns landing in fields can get chopped up when farmers mow for silage or hay, resulting in fragments of wire in the forage. Cows get the wire trapped in their gut resulting in a slow, agonising death for the animal.

“Many councils have already banned the use of sky lanterns on their land and I urge all local authorities to follow suit.”

The lobbying effort achieved some success when in October the Department for Communities and Local Government issued guidance urging caution in the use of lanterns that “can kill animals, litter the countryside and start fires”. However, the CLA is campaigning for Parliamentary support for an outright ban on their sale and use in the UK.

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