Councils ban sky lanterns

A ban on sky lanterns and helium balloons has been introduced by local councils.

The move follows concerns that lanterns and balloons can harm animals and cause damage to property.

After listening to concerns, councillors at North Dorset District Council, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and West Dorset District Council all voted to ban the release of balloons and lanterns from council property.

Cllr Michael Roake, North Dorset District Council Environment Portfolio Holder, said: “I welcome this ban as releasing lit balloons and lanterns can cause a serious hazard to wildlife and livestock. People sometimes do not realise the trouble that they can cause, please don’t release them.”

Cllr John Russell, West Dorset District Council’s Environmental Protection and Assets Portfolio Holder, said: “This sends out a clear message that releasing lit lanterns or balloons can cause serious problems, both to property, with the risk of fire, and to animals, who may become entangled in or eat the debris.”

Cllr Ray Nowak, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Environment and Sustainability Brief Holder, said: “It is good news that sky lanterns and balloons have been banned from council property as they can cause serious harm.”

There is also a risk that the lanterns can cause false callouts to the emergency services, as people sometimes mistake them for flares and contact the coastguard.     

The rules will apply to all council-owned land and leased premises. The ban will be reviewed in two years.

The RSPCA support the ban on sky lanterns and more information on their campaign is available here: rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/litter/chineselanterns