Sunday, March 3, 2024

NFU pushes ahead with campaign to ban sky lanterns

The NFU leading a campaign for a total ban of sky lanterns in England and Wales as members say they continue to cause problems to the safe running of their farms.

The farmers’ union has joined forces with farming, environment, animal and fire organisations to call for a national ban of sky lanterns as part of a long-running campaign to ground them for good.

NFU Vice President David Exwood said: “Sky lanterns continue to be a real danger to many of us living and working in the countryside. They can cause serious injury to livestock if they are eaten, particularly with so many calves and lambs in the fields in the spring and summer months.

“As the weather gets drier the potential for damage to crops and buildings is also increased.

“By launching this petition and galvanising the support of the British public, we can show the UK Government, and the Defra minister with responsibility, Jo Churchill MP, that there is widespread support for a total ban of sky lanterns in England and Wales. I urge farmers and growers to add their name and help ground sky lanterns for good.”

Since May 2022, more than 100,000 members of the public have signed a petition calling on the government to follow the lead of hundreds of local councils and introduce an outright ban. Parliament recognises 100,000 signatures as the most significant milestone a petition can reach.

David added: “We wrote to Environment Minister Trudy Harrison MP to ask for a national ban on sky lanterns. She has responded informing us that Defra have now commissioned research into the harms caused by sky lanterns.

“Last month we wrote to Defra again, calling for them to share the research findings given the ongoing support from the public calling for a ban.

“Every year up to 200,000 sky lanterns are released in the UK and farmers continue to report the threat they are posing to their farm businesses.

“These floating flames are highly dangerous and can start wildfires, kill livestock, destroy crops and set homes and buildings alight.”

Germany, Austria and Brazil are among the countries that have already implemented a total ban.

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