The CLA in the Midlands is appealing for local authorities in the region to ban the use of sky lanterns through stricter controls on entertainment licences.
With the festive season, and New Year’s Eve in particular, inviting an upsurge in use, the CLA fears that it is only a matter of time before there is a serious accident.
The Association is urging local councils to amend their entertainment licence policy so that all new licences granted for a venue or an event include a clause prohibiting the use of sky lanterns.
CLA Midlands Rural Adviser Donna Tavernor 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 often 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, have been known to get the wire trapped in their gut, resulting in an agonising, slow death.”
The Vale of White Horse District Council in Oxfordshire has added a condition to its entertainment licence policy prohibiting the use of sky lanterns. This has been backed up by a ban on council-owned land. Councillor Robert Sharp told the CLA that adding the banning clause 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.
The CLA is looking to collect evidence of damage caused by sky lanterns to take to the Government. Those who have experienced problems caused by sky lanterns falling on their land should email:firstname.lastname@example.org call: 01785 337010, or address tweets to: @clamidlands