West Lindsey District Council ban Chinese lantern and balloon releases in council owned parks and open spaces

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West Lindsey District Council has banned the release of Chinese lanterns and balloons from public land over animal welfare and environment concerns.

Councillors said sky lanterns were ‘impossible to control’ and can pose a choking or entanglement hazard to natural wildlife and livestock.

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.

Consequently, councillors voted to prohibit releases in council-owned parks and open spaces.

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

West Lindsey council leader, Giles McNeill, described the lanterns as ‘unpredictable’ and ‘very dangerous’.

He continued: “I suggested that we ban the release of sky lanterns from council owned or operated sites in West Lindsey and include information about the dangers of sky lanterns as part our public awareness campaign.”

District councillors voted to implement the ban at a full council meeting on Monday evening (January 20).

A similar ban was also introduced by City of Lincoln Council last year and South Kesteven District Council has also voted this week to implement a ban.

The move follows concerns from animal welfare charities that the release of lanterns can pose a risk to wildlife.

West Lindsey’s decision was made following a discussion issue around fireworks, following concerns from the RSPCA and local residents

Fireworks are used by people throughout the year to mark different events. While they can bring much enjoyment to some people, they can be a source of fear and distress for many animals (including pet animals, farm livestock and wildlife).

The RSPCA believes that a licensing system would help with better enforcement of the law, by allowing enforcement bodies to know where licensed events are being held so they can focus on locations and incidents elsewhere.

Coun McNeill said he had also received a number of emails from residents to take action.

He said: “I would ask Council to require all public firework displays within the local authority boundaries to be advertised in advance of the event, allowing residents to take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people and to actively promote a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people – including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks.”

Coun Stephen Bunney amended the motion for the leader of the council to write to trading standards to ask for retailers who sell fireworks to distinguish the difference between quiet and loud fireworks.