Defra fails to grasp need for sky lantern ban, says CLA

26 November 2013

The CLA says Defra's refusal to ban sky lanterns is based on an "inconclusive and unsatisfactory" report.  The Association said the report by agriculture and environment agency ADAS, entitled Sky lanterns and helium balloons: an assessment of impacts on livestock and the environment, failed to recognise the true scale of the threat posed by the fad.

CLA Midlands Rural Adviser, Donna Tavernor, said: "Defra is under the impression that the main risk posed by sky lanterns is to aircraft. In fact there is plenty of evidence these flying bonfires are damaging property and crops and harming and killing cattle".

Even the ADAS report concluded that 'the fire risk associated with the use of sky lanterns is significant', reported around 16 cases of injury or death to cattle, sheep or horses and admitted there may be a 'significant level of under-reporting by veterinary surgeons and others'. Yet this inconclusive and unsatisfactory report still concluded the impact on livestock was very small."

Miss Tavernor added: "We are advising our members not to use sky lanterns or to allow their use on their land. We would like Mr Heath to take our call for a ban seriously for the sake of farming and property-owners."