‘It’s high time we snuffed out these bonfires in the sky’ say Herts landowners and farmers

Sky lanterns can cause problems for landowners

Sky lanterns can cause problems for landowners - Credit: Tuscaloosa News

The dangers caused by ‘flying bonfires’ during the harvest season have been highlighted by the organisation that represents farmers and other landowners in the county.

With the combines starting to roll the Country Land & Business Association is pleading with people not to release Chinese lanterns as part of wedding or other summer celebrations because of the damage they can cause.

The CLA fears that standing crops and straw stacks will be at risk because of an expected surge in lantern sales and use fuelled by the holiday and wedding seasons.

Regional director Ben Underwood said: “We don’t want to spoil people’s fun, but people should be aware that these lanterns are serious fire hazards.

“They also endanger the lives of grazing livestock as well as other wildlife, and create unnecessary litter.

“Releasing a naked flame with absolutely no control over where it will land poses a serious threat to rural businesses, wildlife and the environment.

“If one of these flying bonfires were to land in a tinder dry field or on a straw stack then the farmer could be facing a very costly blaze that would not only endanger his business, but potentially human lives too.

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“There is also the real threat the remnants of the lantern could be cut up and end up in silage eaten by cattle, which would cause the unfortunate animal to suffer a slow and agonising death.”

A report published in 2013 investigating the impact of sky lanterns on livestock and the environment estimated between three and eight million lanterns are sold each year in the UK.

Many local authorities have blocked lanterns from being sold or released from their land and property, but the government has resisted calls for a national ban.

Mr Underwood added: “The CLA continues to push for a total, nationwide ban on the use of lanterns. The campaign has momentum and the CLA will be continuing its work lobbying for a parliamentary debate in order to have the issue brought back into the national spotlight.”

His organistion is looking to collect evidence of damage caused by sky lanterns to take to government. If you have experienced problems contact east@cla.org.uk, call 01638 590429 or address tweets to @CLAEast.

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