LOCAL authorities have been urged to ban sky lanterns through stricter controls on entertainment licences.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) in the North fears it will only be a matter of time before there is a serious accident.
The Association is urging councils in the region to amend their entertainment licence policy so that all new licences granted for a venue or an event include a clause prohibiting the use of sky lanterns.
Dorothy Fairburn, regional director, said: “Sky lanterns are serious fire hazards, they also endanger the lives of grazing livestock as well as other wildlife, and create unnecessary litter.
“Those releasing lanterns often have no idea of the hazard they pose, nor do they consider the implications of releasing a naked flame with absolutely no control over where it will land.
“Lanterns that land in fields can get chopped up when farmers mow for silage or hay, resulting in fragments of wire in the forage. Cows, which naturally tend to chew things to check them out, get the wire trapped in their gut, resulting in an agonising, slow death.”
The Vale of White Horse District Council in Oxfordshire has added a condition to its entertainment licence policy prohibiting the use of sky lanterns.
This has been backed up by a ban on council-owned land.
Adding the banning clause means the process is then implemented automatically upon licence renewal at no additional cost, with the whole district eventually being covered.
The Royal Parks have a similar ban in place.
They also search for, and confiscate, sky lanterns brought in by those attending events on their property.
Many countries have already banned the use of sky lanterns, including Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Spain Germany and parts of the USA.
The CLA is looking to collect evidence of damage caused by sky lanterns to take to the Government.
Anyone who has experienced problems by sky lanterns falling on their land should email: firstname.lastname@example.org; call 01749 907070, or tweet to @CLANorth.