Sky lanterns danger warning

HUCKNALL people wanting to celebrate a special occasion by marking the event with sky lanterns are being advised to think again.

A Nottinghamshire rural body is calling for tighter controls over the use of the paper and wire framed sky lanterns, which lift into the air with a lighted candle inside them.

The problem lies in the unpredictable nature of the lantern and not knowing where it will land as they can fly for miles and there is no guarantee that they will have extinguished before the red-hot frames fall to earth.

The Country Land & Business Association (CLA) says people need to understand the threat they pose to livestock, crops, forestry and buildings.

“The spent lanterns cause litter in fields and hedgerows,” said CLA Nottinghamshire director Nicola Currie.

“Cattle naturally check out unknown objects by licking and chewing at them. If the wire from these lanterns becomes ingested it causes a horribly slow and painful death for the animal.

“But just as worrying is the threat of fire. The current weather and winds have left everything tinder dry.”

The lanterns, which are also called Chinese Lanterns, have become very popular in recent years and have caused many problems and even been misidentified as UFOs.

“We think this is a genuine health and safety issue. Biodegradable frames have been suggested as an alternative to wire – but whatever manufacturers do, they cannot eliminate the fire risk and that, in itself, surely poses sufficient threat to justify banning the use of these lanterns.”