Suffolk: CLA calls for ban on sky lanterns

Nicola Currie,regional director of the Country Land and Business Association

Nicola Currie,regional director of the Country Land and Business Association

AN AGRICULTURAL body is calling for sky lanterns to be banned as it says they pose a threat to livestock, crops, forestry and buildings.

As the wedding season gets into full swing, CLA (Country Land & Business Association) East has raised concerns over the use of sky lanterns.

The paper lanterns – which have become a popular addition to wedding festivities – can fly for miles and there is no guarantee the candle inside will have extinguished before they fall to earth.

Last weekend the CLA discovered a used lantern on farmland in Suffolk about 40 metres from a thatched house at Hitcham.

CLA East director Nicola Currie said: “The spent lanterns cause litter in fields and hedgerows. Cattle naturally check out unknown objects by licking and chewing at them.

“If the wire from these lanterns becomes ingested it causes a horribly slow and painful death for the animal.

“The lantern found last week was a so-called safer variety made using bamboo, but in reality splintered cane is just as sharp and therefore as dangerous to livestock as wire.

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“But just as worrying is the threat of fire. The current weather and winds have left everything tinder dry.

“There is a farming business in my Suffolk village [Hitcham] which lost a hay crop due to a sky lantern, so we know from bitter experience it doesn’t take much to start a blaze. Having fire flying over the countryside is a disaster waiting to happen.

“CLA members with horses have also raised concerns as the lanterns can spook horses, causing accidents.

“We think this is a genuine health and safety issue. Biodegradable frames have been suggested as an alternative to wire, but whatever manufacturers do they cannot eliminate the fire risk and that, in itself, surely poses sufficient threat to justify banning the use of these lanterns.”

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