Landowners call for councils to follow Suffolk Coastal District Council’s lead in banning sky lanterns from its land

Fire damage said to have been caused by a Chinese lantern landing in a Norfolk field

Fire damage said to have been caused by a Chinese lantern landing in a Norfolk field - Credit: Archant

Landowners’ leaders who have been campaigning for a ban on Chinese lanterns are hoping other councils will follow the lead of Suffolk Coastal District Council in banning their release from its land.

The district council says it received widespread public support after its cabinet voted unanimously at a meeting on June 3 to ban Chinese lanterns, or sky lanterns, and the mass release of balloons from its land because of the risk they pose to wildlife and livestock through ingesting them or becoming entangled in them and the potential fire hazard. There were also concerns about the litter problems they can cause.

Suffolk Coastal has adopted a code of conduct for staff and councillors to follow on this issue and the ban will be included in the terms for leasing Suffolk Coastal land in the future.

Country Land and Business Association (CLA) East is urging the county’s borough and district councils to follow Suffolk Coastal’s lead.

The CLA has been campaigning for a nationwide ban on sky lanterns for two years and was one of a number of organisations consulted on the issue before the cabinet meeting.

The association has previously called for local authorities to amend Entertainment Licence policy so new licences for certain venues or events can include a clause prohibiting the use of sky lanterns, and suggested this was backed up by a ban on council-owned land.

CLA eastern regional director Nicola Currie said: “It is extremely pleasing that SCDC has taken the decision to ban the release of sky lanterns, and balloons, from its land.

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“We have campaigned hard for a long time to raise the awareness of the dangers of sky lanterns to people and their homes, livestock, the environment, and the rural economy as whole.

“However, we would like to see other borough and district councils follow suit so that we can not only reduce the amount of lanterns released, but also educate the public to their dangers.

“People need to realise that if they release one of these lanterns into the sky they risk being responsible for the slow and very painful death of a cow or other grazing livestock, or a fire that destroys someone’s home, business or life.

“The CLA will continue its work at a national level to obtain a ban on the use of sky lanterns by lobbying for a Parliamentary debate on the issue.”