Countryside Alliance warns Aylesbury residents over dangers of 'sky lanterns'

A real threat to wildlife?
A real threat to wildlife?

The Countryside Alliance have warned Buckinghamshire residents about the dangers of 'sky lanterns' after a horrendous zoo fire in Germany saw dozens of animals die.

The Countryside Alliance said the 'sky lanterns' are a menace for landowners who report sheep, cattle and horses being injured or dying from eating their metal frames.

Sarah Lee, Head of Policy at the Countryside Alliance said:

“While Sky lanterns are used to create a spectacle in the sky, they are also a serious danger to the countryside, livestock and wildlife.

"The horrendous news of the Zoo fire in Germany, should remind us all of the very real threat they pose."

Sky lanterns, also known as Chinese lanterns, consist of a paper-covered wire or bamboo frame and an open flame heat source, which lifts the lantern into the air where it can float for miles from the point of release. Once extinguished the lantern falls back to earth.

Sarah continued:

"Drifting for miles they are a menace for farmers and landowners who frequently report sheep, cattle and horses being injured or even dying from eating the wire metal frames of the lanterns or being spooked by them, on top of the fire hazard they pose.

"Not only that, they are also a serious source of litter in the countryside. We urge people to think twice before letting them off and to consider the impact of them after they have left their hands. If people cannot act responsibly, then firmer action is needed from the Government, which could well result in a ban.”

An estimated 200,000 sky lanterns are sold and released each year in the UK

Sky lanterns also have a open flame to help them fly, which is a fire hazard to wildlife and can damage their habitats and the environment. During the dry summer months, this risk is increased as it's easier for grass and countryside to catch fire.

The RSPCA have also been campaigning against the use of 'sky lanterns' in a bit to end sky litter.

They say: "Sky lanterns can cause injury and suffering to animals and have a devastating impact on the environment. There have been reports of animals becoming entangled in these lanterns and becoming injured trying to free themselves, which will cause extreme stress and suffering.