Report encourages council to ban use of sky lanterns

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Babergh District Council has proposed a move to ban the release of sky lanterns and helium-filled balloons on all council-owned land.

A report written by the council’s head of environment, Chris Fry, recommends that councillors follow the lead of other local authorities in introducing a policy to ban the use of lanterns and balloons.

This report comes after months of campaigning from groups such as the Country Land and Business Association, which has publicised the harmful effects that releasing lighted balloons and lanterns can have on the countryside and its wildlife.

Mr Fry’s report highlighted the recent increase in the number of people releasing sky lanterns and balloons for commemorative or celebratory events.

He stressed the potential hazards they pose to humans, wildlife and property when the lanterns land while still alight.

Mr Fry encouraged the council to introduce a policy to ban or restrict their use, as other authorities, including Ipswich County Council and Suffolk Coastal, have done.

“A number of other councils across the country have looked to ban them or restrict them in such a way,” he said.

The report is due to be debated at the full council meeting of Babergh District Council tomorrow.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has been campaigning for a ban for the last 18 months.

CLA East communications manager Martin Betts said the association was pleased to see another council bringing attention to the problems they can cause, both alight in the air and on the ground.

“It’s important that people realise how dangerous Chinese lanterns are,” he said. “It looks beautiful as it goes up but the problem is that is going to come down somewhere.”