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‘Ban Chinese Lanterns now’

Created on 02/07/2013 @ 12:22


The local farmers’ union has made an urgent call for Chinese (sky) lanterns to be banned after one destroyed a factory unit across the border, and it took 200 fire fighters to bring it under control.

The lanterns are popular in Montgomeryshire and are let off at parties and in memory of deceased friends and relatives.

But The Farmers' Union of Wales have been campaigning for them to be banned for some time and today they have renewed calls in light of the blaze which destroyed 100,000 tonnes of recycling material in Smethwick.

“Only six weeks ago the union expressed its disappointment that a government-funded study failed to properly reflect the dangers Chinese lanterns pose to property and livestock,” said FUW land use and parliamentary committee chairman Gavin Williams.

Mr Williams was referring to a study jointly commissioned by Defra and the Welsh Government, and carried out by ADAS, into the risks of sky lanterns and helium balloons to livestock health and welfare; the environment (including litter); fire risk; damage to marine life and consumer safety.

Despite conceding that the evidence they received reflected widespread concern from farmers and others over the dangers of sky lanterns, they failed to support calls for a ban on Chinese lanterns.

But the Union says its members have continued to report lanterns being found in fields that were being grazed, about to be grazed, or cut for silage or hay. It was reported that it only took eight minutes from the time the lantern was seen landing in Smethwick to the time the fire was out of control.

“The materials used in the construction of these lanterns pose a danger to livestock, particularly if the wire or bamboo from the frame of the lantern is chopped up during the silage making process and contaminates feedstocks.

“We have also repeatedly warned that sky lanterns pose a considerable fire risk and this latest incident demonstrates why there should be an outright ban on the manufacture and sale of sky lanterns, and that their release should be made illegal in the UK.”

Luckily no-one was injured in the latest inferno.

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