January 14, 2020 11.36 am This story is over 20 months old

Council to ban release of Chinese lanterns and balloons on its land

It is concerned about the environment

South Kesteven District Council is set to ban the release of Chinese lanterns on its own land over concerns of the “negative impact” on the environment and wildlife.

Senior councillors are expected to adopt a position statement on sky lanterns and balloons at a cabinet meeting next week.

It means releases would be prohibited on council-owned parks or open spaces.

There is no national legislation to control the release of lanterns and balloons, which means local authorities have to take their own positions on the issue.

The measure follows the increase in popularity of releasing Chinese lanterns into the sky at charity events or other occasions.

South Kesteven District Council building, St Peters Hill. Picture: SKDC.

But, the authority said the balloons and lanterns can pose a choking or entanglement hazard to natural wildlife and livestock.

It added that it is “impossible to control where they land” and that they can often land in “streams and rivers which may lead to the sea”.

In its position statement which is expected to be adopted next week, the council says it is committed to protecting the local environment.

It said: “The council will not allow the intentional release of sky (Chinese) lanterns and balloons on its own land which is open to the public, including council owned parks or open spaces.

“The council is committed to creating a clean and attractive environment across the district.

“Through taking this decision, the council aims to raise awareness of the negative impacts of the intentional release of sky (Chinese) lanterns and balloons on the environment, wildlife and livestock.

“It is hoped that publicising this statement will also lead to greater public awareness and a reduction in smaller scale private releases.”

The authority said while the statement does not give the council enforcement rights, the policy “should be viewed as a longer term ambition to promote good practice” and to educate the public.

A similar measure was taken by neighbouring Rutland County Council in December last year.

The authority banned Chinese lanterns and helium balloons from Oakham Castle and other council-run venues over fire risk concerns to animals and the environment.

Senior councillors in South Kesteven will discuss a similar ban at a cabinet meeting on January 21.

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