Council backs national campaign

Daventry District Council (DDC) is backing a national campaign to ban the use of sky lanterns.

The council is supporting the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) by writing to the Government to ask for a Parliamentary debate on the matter.

Resembling small hot-air balloons made of paper with a wire frame, sky lanterns are increasingly popular for celebrations or as an alternative to fireworks. But the CLA believes the lanterns are a fire hazard and pose a danger to livestock.

While DDC has insufficient powers to ban their use in the district, councillors agreed at the last meeting of full council to write to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to request a national ban be debated in Parliament.

The council will also consider introducing guidance on the release of sky lanterns – also known as Chinese lanterns – in the next review of its Licensing Policy.

DDC leader Cllr Chris Millar, said: “While sky lanterns may look good against the night sky, it is clear they pose a significant risk, particularly in rural districts such as ours.

“The naked flame which heats the air in the balloon is a fire hazard, while the metal wiring can cause injury or even death to livestock unfortunate enough to eat it.

“This Council can’t impose a ban on them but we’ve pledged to support the CLA campaign by writing to the Secretary of State in the hope that a debate in Parliament will be forthcoming.”

CLA Eastern Regional Director Nicola Currie said: “Daventry District Council’s support of our campaign by writing a letter to the Government calling for a Parliamentary debate on the matter is tremendous news. We hope other local authorities across the country respond to this, because there is absolutely no reason why they cannot back our campaign by doing the same.

“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 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.

“Anyone who has seen the dreadful pain of animals who have inadvertently eaten part of a lantern would understand why we are pushing for an outright ban on these flying bonfires.”