Sky lanterns banned from Warwickshire County Council land

They may look attractive, but sky lanterns can start fires and harm wildlife. Picture: PA
They may look attractive, but sky lanterns can start fires and harm wildlife. Picture: PA

Sky lanterns have been forbidden from being launched on land owned by Warwickshire County Council - including country parks.

The decision was made last week with the aim of preventing fires, danger to wildlife and unnecessary litter.

Sky lanterns, also known as Chinese lanterns or Kongming lanterns, are similar to small hot air balloons and are often powered by a candle. The county’s fire and rescue service warns that they have the potential to start fires depending on where they land and litter the countryside. They can also frighten wildlife and endanger animals.

Cllr Les Caborn, the county councillor responsible for community protection, said: “While these lanterns may look nice, when you launch them, they can cause untold damage to our countryside, wildlife and to businesses. I welcome the motion to prohibit their use and hope other residents follow our lead to ensure the safety of our communities.”

Community fire safety and arson reduction manager Moreno Francioso said: “We have been concerned at the fire risk posed by their use for sometime now. We welcome the support in taking steps to ban them from council-owned land. We know this won’t stop people launching them from their back gardens, but we do hope that people will now think twice about the potential risks, before using them.”

In June 2013, a sky lantern sparked a fire in a recycling plant in Smethwick, West Midlands. The fire burned for over three days and caused over £6m worth of damage.

Cllr Richard Chattaway, chairman of the council’s community’s overview and scrutiny committee, said: “I hope that by prohibiting the use of sky lanterns we are able to reduce the risk and help to prevent an incident, such as the fire at the recycling plant in Smethwick, happening here in Warwickshire.”

Land owned by the county council in and around Rugby includes Draycote Water, Ryton Pools and all primary and secondary schools.

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