Alarm raised over Chinese lanterns
03 February 2011
Farmers, the Civil Air Authority and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency are urging people celebrating Chinese New Year not to release Chinese lanterns.
According to the National Farmers' Union, the paper lanterns pose a risk to livestock and crops as they can drift for miles and cause death to cattle, litter and serious fires in the countryside.
The NFU is asking people celebrating the start of the Year of the Rabbit not to release the "sky lanterns".
NFU director of communications Erika Coghlan said: "Chinese New Year is one of the most vibrant and colourful events in the calendar and thousands of people will want to take part.
"However, we really hope that people will think twice about releasing Chinese lanterns because they can cause cattle deaths and serious fires, as well as being a litter nuisance."
Fiona Ashurst from Keep Britain Tidy added: "While we understand that Chinese lanterns can form part of people's celebrations, they need to consider that whilst the lanterns may look pretty for half an hour or so, the effect when they fall to the ground can be far from pretty.
"Once the remains of the lanterns land on the ground they become litter, look unsightly, and can be harmful to animals.
"If people want to use lanterns we ask that they are secured to the ground where they can be retrieved and disposed of responsibly, not released to float away and become a problem to others."