If you release a sky lantern during the Christmas and the New Year period you run the risk of destroying someone’s home or business, CLA East has warned.
The organisation, which represents thousands of landowners, farmers and rural businesses across the eastern region, has issued an impassioned plea to the public to consider the potential impacts of lanterns on people’s lives as part of a drive to discourage use.
CLA East Regional Surveyor Tim Woodward said: “We want people to enjoy Christmas and the New Year celebrations, but to do so without the need to release sky lanterns – essentially they are no more than flying fire hazards.
“Those planning to release them as part of their celebrations need to take a moment to seriously consider the significant risk lanterns pose to homes, businesses and lives in urban and rural areas alike.
“They also cause the emergency services enormous and unwanted problems.
“Coastal rescue services have been wrongly deployed because lit lanterns drifting near the sea have been wrongly identified as distress flares. While the majority of the country’s fire brigades have received emergency callouts to extinguish lanterns, leading to reports of burnt-out cars, and scorched roofs and gardens.
“Lanterns are capable of causing much greater damage – the one which set fire to 100,000 tonnes of waste plastic and paper at a recycling plant in Smethwick in the West Midlands in 2013 resulted in 11 fire fighters being injured and damage totalling £6million.
“Our campaign to have lanterns banned has been running for almost three years. This stance is supported by the RNLI, The Chief Fire Officers Association, and The Local Government Association, which represents all 49 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales – and over 370 local councils.
“However, we still need the public to back our campaign and ensure that someone’s home, property, business or life isn’t destroyed this Christmas.”