Reminder of sky lantern dangers following an online campaign to use them to show support for the NHS

16 April 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council is reminding residents that the use of sky lanterns can be extremely dangerous.  This follows a recent on–line campaign asking people to light one and release it to show their support for the NHS and key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The recent warm weather and dry ground conditions mean the lanterns present an increased fire risk as well as having other environmental impacts.

The Council voted to ban their use on Council-owned and Council-controlled land due to the risks they pose to life and property back in October 2016.

Sky lanterns consist of a paper-covered wire or bamboo frame and an open flame heat source which can float in the sky for long distances. When they land they can pose a serious threat to livestock, property and farm machinery.

The burning lantern remnants can start fires, endanger lives, destroy property, distress or kill wildlife, pets and farm animals, as well as causing unsightly littering.

Animals can accidently eat the remains of a lantern, causing internal bleeding, which can result in a slow and painful death.

The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said: “These lanterns are a menace and cause misery to farmers, their livestock and wildlife.  

 “I would urge anyone who is planning to release a sky lantern from their own property to please think again.

“They are a beautiful sight in the night sky but they can have devastating consequences on the environment and animal welfare.  We can all continue to show our appreciation and admiration for NHS staff and all key workers by applauding them in our streets as we have done previously.

"Following the lighting of the Town Hall and Eastgate Clock in March, our Highways team has arranged for the clock face of the Eastgate Clock to be illuminated in blue every Thursday from this Thursday.  Although it won't be seen by many people, as we all follow guidelines and stay at home to save lives, it will be a poignant symbol of our support for all the borough's wonderful NHS staff and key workers." 

The Council listened to the concerns of local people in 2016 and imposed a ban on the organised release of sky lanterns on Council-owned or Council-controlled land and at Council-endorsed or supported events - including those not on Council land.

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