We wrote last year about the new safety guidelines for using Chinese sky lanterns. These were issued in the wake of a huge fire in the West Midlands caused by a rogue lantern. Since then, there have been growing demands that they should be banned completely – and indeed many councils have now taken this step.
It seems that Wales is leading the way, and now more than half of Welsh councils have imposed a ban. This follows a campaign by the Welsh RSPCA which underlines that they pose more than a fire risk: there have been many instances where the thin wire contained in the lanterns has been eaten by animals and caused severe internal injuries.
Councils across England are following suit: for example, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils have all either already banned or are introducing a ban on the release of lanterns from council-owned land. The National Farmers’ Union has also become involved: it launched a letter-writing campaign earlier this year, which asked farmers to write to their local authority to ask them to ban sky lanterns.
So the campaign is gathering momentum and it may not be long until there is a complete ban.