Lanterns in the sky may be pretty but they could also wreck lives, says rural business body

Sky lanterns can cause problems for landowners

Sky lanterns can cause problems for landowners - Credit: Tuscaloosa News

Anyone sending up a sky lantern as a way of celebrating over the Christmas and the New Year period could be putting someone’s home or business at risk, says an organisation which represents landowners.

CLA East speaks for thousands of landowners, farmers and rural businesses across the eastern region, and has been part of a long-running campaign to get the popular novelties banned.

And as they ae particularly popular at New Year parties and other holiday celebrations, they want people to be aware of the potential impacts of lanterns on people’s lives.

The organisation’s Tim Woodward said: “We want people to enjoy Christmas and the New Year celebrations, but to do so without the need to release sky lanterns – essentially they are no more than flying fire hazards.

“Those planning to release them as part of their celebrations need to take a moment to seriously consider the significant risk lanterns pose to homes, businesses and lives in urban and rural areas alike.

“They also cause the emergency services enormous and unwanted problems.

“Coastal rescue services have been wrongly deployed because lit lanterns drifting near the sea have been wrongly identified as distress flares. While the majority of the country’s fire brigades have received emergency callouts to extinguish lanterns, leading to reports of burnt-out cars, and scorched roofs and gardens.

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“Lanterns are capable of causing much greater damage – the one which set fire to 100,000 tonnes of waste plastic and paper at a recycling plant in Smethwick in the West Midlands in 2013 resulted in 11 fire fighters being injured and damage totalling £6million.

“Our campaign to have lanterns banned has been running for almost three years. This stance is supported by the RNLI, The Chief Fire Officers Association, and The Local Government Association, which represents all 49 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales – and more than 370 local councils.

“However, we still need the public to back our campaign and ensure that someone’s home, property, business or life isn’t destroyed.”