Fire Chiefs Council joins farming and rural organisations' calls to ban sky lanterns

Farming, rual and welfare organisations have been campaigning to ground sky lanterns for good.Farming, rual and welfare organisations have been campaigning to ground sky lanterns for good.
Farming, rual and welfare organisations have been campaigning to ground sky lanterns for good.
The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) joined calls for local authorities to ban sky lanterns and dissuade people from setting them off.

The council joined the NFU to increase campaigning in the run-up to Bonfire Night and over the weekend, with more ‘backyard’ displays expected due to the cancellation of communal events.

As highlighted in Country Week last week, sky lantern use typically rises around Bonfire Night with many people unaware of the consequences they have on farmers as well as putting increased strain on emergency services.

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Paul Hedley, inset, the National Fire Chiefs Council lead for wildfires, said: “I strongly urge people not to light sky lanterns over the weekend. In fact, NFCC does not advocate the use of sky lanterns under any circumstances, at any time.

“Demand is likely to be increased this year due to an increase in people holding displays at home.

“They pose a huge fire hazard, impact on agriculture, thatched properties and hazardous material sites, and risk the lives of animals. “A fire caused by a sky lantern can be a complex and large-scale incident and have huge implications on fire services. All emergency services are currently under unprecedented pressure due to Covid-19, and sky lanterns could put additional pressure on the fire service, and further strain on the NHS.

“Almost 90 local authorities across the UK have banned the use of lanterns and I would like to see this go further.”

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NFU deputy president, Stuart Roberts, said: “We are delighted to have received the support of the NFCC on this crucial campaign, which highlights the devastating damage sky lanterns can cause to buildings and fields on farms.

“Simply put, all of these lanterns must land somewhere and while they may look pretty in the sky, they also become unnecessary litter across our beautiful countryside.”

The CLA has also been campaign-ing for a ban on sky lanterns. CLA director North, Dorothy Fairburn, said: “We want people to enjoy themselves but just as they will be taking safety precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, we want them to also consider the safety of their wider environment and this means not releasing sky lanterns.”

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