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Farming group wants Chinese lantern ban
A FARMING union has welcomed an announcement that the Government is to launch a study into the effects Chinese lanterns have on the environment.
For the last three years members of the Women's Food and Farming Union have been campaigning for a ban on the floating illuminations.
And the announcement has been met with delight from Margaret Gibson of Burneside Hall, Burneside, who is a member of the WFU’s central executive committee.
She said that the problem was not as severe as it was two years ago, but Mealbank, near Kendal, was one place where burned-out lanterns were still found regularly.
“We all hope that this study will lead to a ban on Chinese lanterns, which is what has been done by some councils in Wales,” said Mrs Gibson.
“What comes up has to come down. Hopefully a ban will come about thanks to the work the WFU has done to make people aware of the problems Chinese lanterns can cause.”
Details of post-mortem examinations submitted to the government by the organisation have shown that cattle have died eating the wire and bamboo in burned-out lanterns.
The union says that the lanterns also pose a litter problem.
A Defra spokesperson said the aim of the study was to find out the effect sky lanterns had on the environment, livestock and crops and to discover what other countries were doing to address concerns. The third theme of the study was to find out how much the market for lanterns is worth.
The spokesperson added: “Given the concerns and complaints that are being made about the damage sky lanterns can do, we want to find out just what effect they are having on farming and the environment.”
Helen Bower, president of the WFU, said: “I have spoken at length to Defra ministers about this problem and the heartache these lanterns have caused. I am pleased to say now that many other organisations have joined the WFU to lobby for a ban.”
Dorothy Fairburn, the Country Landowners’ Association North Regional Director, said: “Manufacturers defend their products as an environmentally friendly way for people to enjoy themselves, but it is becoming clear they are nothing more than a potential lethal fire risk.
“Other countries have seen fit to ban their use as the list of problems they have caused grows ever larger. I would urge anyone considering using sky lanterns to think again. Even open countryside contains houses, farmland and woodland where people’s and animals’ lives could be put at risk.”