Staffordshire Moorlands District Council bans sky lanterns

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A district council has banned sky lanterns on its property.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s Cabinet voted unanimously to ban the release and sale of the lanterns, small hot air balloons popular at outdoor events, on its land.

A report recommending the ban said that the devices, also known as Chinese Lanterns, posed a threat to animals and property.

It said: “Sky lanterns pose a serious threat to wildlife and livestock through both ingestion and entrapment.

“In addition, un-extinguished sky lanterns are a significant fire hazard and the metal waste can damage farm machinery and harm livestock, they are also a contributor to the defacement of land by litter and waste.

“When sky lanterns are released, they don’t just disappear. They float back down to earth. There is evidence to show that releases of sky lanterns present an avoidable fire and safety risk.

“There is also evidence to indicate that sky lantern releases are a risk to livestock and wildlife”

The report also said the ban would help to reduce anti-social behaviour.

A ban on sky lanterns is supported by many national charities and organisations, including the Chief Fire Officers’ Association and the National Farmers’ Union.

Many councils have already banned the lanterns, with Staffordshire County Council doing so in 2014.

The RSPCA welcomed Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s decision.

A spokesperson said: “We are delighted that Staffordshire Moorlands District Council are banning the use of sky lanterns on their land, and hope this might encourage other councils to follow suit.

“They may appeal to some as an unusual way to mark the various celebrations but if used carelessly they can terrify, injure and kill animals

“Cattle have died after bits of sky lanterns have fallen into their feed, and scraps of the items landing in a field could be eaten by any animal from a horse to a pet dog with fatal consequences.”

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