Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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ePetition details

Sky Lanterns

We the undersigned petition the council to prohibit the release of sky lanterns/ Chinese lanterns within Cheltenham Borough.

Sky lanterns are small hot air balloons made of paper and wire or bamboo, which are elevated by a small fire suspended underneath. They can travel for around 15 miles before the flame expires, and they fall to the ground as litter.

They have caused serious fires all over the world including 'the biggest fire West Midlands Fire Service had ever dealt with' at Smethwick recycling plant in 2013, destroying 500 acres in Washington and 800 in South Carolina. They have also directly caused burn injuries to people and animals. Recently, in January 2018 a trampoline was destroyed near Cheltenham by a lantern released for New Year.

The lanterns can also cause damage to wildlife and livestock. Many birds, including a barn owl in Gloucestershire have died after becoming entangled in one. Animals have also suffered painful deaths from ingesting parts either in pasture, or where they have unknowingly been harvested into animal feed.

There is also a risk of lanterns being sucked into plane engines, and they have been mistaken for distress signals.

The Chief Fire Officers Association said: "CFOA does not support the use of these devices and asks members of the public and event organisers to refrain from using them. Whilst these lanterns are undoubtedly a popular and beautiful sight, the potential damage they can cause is significant."

The RSPCA states: "We’re pleased that a number of local councils have already banned the use of sky lanterns on all council owned land and we’d like to see other councils follow suit."

The National Farmers Union states "If you were to throw a crisp packet or newspaper to the ground, you might reasonably expect to be fined and spoken to by the authorities. But somehow, setting fire to a paper sky lantern and releasing it to land who-knows where, is still deemed acceptable. Well, we don’t think so, and are calling for an outright ban. Yes, they might look pretty, but in the run-up to Bonfire Night and the festive season, there’s many better ways to celebrate."

Dozens of countries have banned the use and/or sale of sky lanterns, and 72 councils in the UK have so far banned their release. We call upon Cheltenham Borough Council to consider joining them in order to protect the safety of people and animals, property and the environment in and around Cheltenham.

This ePetition runs from 04/01/2018 to 03/05/2018.

41 people have signed this ePetition.