The body that represents all National Parks in England is backing calls for sky lanterns to be banned and has urged for their release to be considered as littering.
Despite an industry code of practice having been drawn up earlier this year to help ensure the responsible sale and safe use of sky lanterns, landowner groups fear it fails to go far enough.
National Parks England has stated there is “increasing concern about the use of sky lanterns and their potential impacts on the countryside”, saying the risk to livestock was a serious concern as livestock farming is “the key to the fabric of many national parks”.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, has campaigned for sky lanterns to be banned for years.
CLA President Henry Robinson said: “With the support of England’s national parks and an increasing number of local authorities banning the release of lanterns from council-owned land, we hope the Government will take note of a growing desire to see the use of these flying bonfires banned.
“We urge people to think twice about the implications of releasing a naked flame with no control over where it will land. Without an outright ban, it is up to the public to do the right thing and use other more environmentally-friendly ways to celebrate an event.”
The North York Moor National Park Authority “wholeheartedly” supports a ban, said communications officer Rachel McIntosh.
“The North York Moors is especially vulnerable to wildfire due to the extent of heather moorland and forestry here and our relatively dry climate.
“Wildfires can have considerable impact on nationally important habitats and wildlife populations that resound for years, detrimentally affect the local economy and add significant demands on the local fire and rescue service.”
While the CLA will continuing lobbying for an outright ban of sky lanterns, its regional office has written to every local authority in the region, asking them to outlaw the use of sky lanterns by making it a condition of entertainment licences that they must not be used.