Farm leaders have stepped up calls for sky lantern ban – warning that they pose a devastating fire threat to the countryside.
More than 50,000 members of the public have backed the NFU’s calls for a total ban on sky lanterns in England and Wales, signing a petition calling on the government to follow the lead of supermarkets, who halted sales of disposable barbecues.
The drought and heatwave have brought into sharp focus the threat of fires posed by sky lanterns landing in fields of crops or grassland. Some 200,000 lanterns are released in the UK every year – posing a risk to property, livestock and wildlife.
So far, 185 councils out of 333 local authoritiees across England and Wales have voluntarily banned sky lanterns.
This covers land owned by these councils – but the NFU says the Government can do more. NFU deputy president Tom Bradshaw said: “This huge amount of public support demonstrates the urgent need for a ban on sky lanterns.
“As we continue to experience very dry weather in many places, alongside some of the highest temperatures on record over the past few weeks, this has increased the risk of fires being started by sky lanterns.
“Now is the time for Defra to take action. While the possibility of fire is great in the summer months, they can also harm animals and wildlife all year round.
“If an animal eats a fallen lantern it could lead to horrible injuries or even death.”