Concern is growing on the increased use of sky lanterns and the damage they are doing to our local countryside, wildlife and livestock. The National Fire Chiefs Council has once again reiterated its warning urging people not to light sky lanterns to show solidarity for NHS workers – and the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs has backed its call.
Sky lanterns are essentially a small hot air balloon made of paper, with an opening at the bottom where a candle is suspended, sky lanterns, or Chinese lanterns as they’re also known, can float for miles before they fall to the ground, causing a serious danger to countryside and animals and a fire hazard.
NFCC Chair Roy Wilsher said: “I fully understand people wanting to show their support to the NHS. However, please find a different way to do this.
Roy continues; “A fire caused by a sky lantern causes a fire is likely to result in a complex and large-scale incident. This is time which could be spent supporting vulnerable people in the community and carrying out other activities, to support the response to COVID-19.”
Backing the call, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We all want to do our bit to show our appreciation for the NHS and frontline workers, but please stay safe and consider one of the many other ways of showing support.
“Sky lanterns pose a danger to our precious environment and wildlife and can place a greater strain on our frontline services and key workers at this challenging time.”
Lanterns are a fire hazard; pose a risk to livestock, agriculture, thatched properties and hazardous material sites. Almost 90 local authorities across the UK have banned the use of lanterns.
Click here to read more about the damage sky lanterns cause and how you can support banning them; https://www.countrysideonline.co.uk/care-for-the-countryside/sky-lanterns/