Ignore calls to light sky lanterns, warn East Anglia’s emergency services

Councils and emergency services have begged people not to release sky lanterns to thank carers. Pict

Councils and emergency services have begged people not to release sky lanterns to thank carers. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire - Credit: PA

People across Suffolk and Essex are expected to go out again on Thursday to take part in the regular “Clap for Carers” event on their doorsteps – but there have been appeals for NHS supporters not to light up the sky as part of the event.

A London-based company that sells sky lanterns has taken to social media to urge people wanting to show their support to the NHS to launch them as part of the celebration.

However organisations across the country have begged people to ignore the suggestion – pointing out that sky lanterns are potentially very dangerous.

The Welsh government has banned sky lanterns from public land and beaches – and there have been calls for the UK government to follow suit.

They can start fires when they land, they can fall to the ground on fields and injure livestock, and they can litter the countryside once they come down to land.

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Suffolk Trading Standards put up a Tweet urging people to ignore the appeals, saying: “Sky lanterns pose a hazard to wildlife and property. There are many examples involving livestock, birds and sea life getting injured due to these falling onto ground or into water.”

It urged people to clap or to bang pots and pans rather than launching potentially dangerous fireballs into the sky.

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There was a similar message from Essex Fire Service which put up a Tweet saying: “If a sky lantern causes a fire, it could see firefighters spending valuable time dealing with what could be a complex, large-scale incident. Time which could be spent supporting vulnerable people as part of the fire services response to Covid-19.”

And there was the same message from Suffolk Fire and Rescue: “Do not release sky lanterns. You may think they look attractive, but they pose a huge fire risk and endanger wildlife when they land! To thank our wonderful NHS, join the rainbow trail or clap with us every Thursday!”

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said there was no reason why anyone should release sky lanterns to show their support for the NHS and other essential workers.

He said: “I shall be joining everyone who is clapping for carers – that is the way everyone can show their appreciation for the heroes of our health and care services. You don’t need to put up sky lantern.”

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