A new code of practice intended to ensure the responsible sale and safe use of sky lanterns fails to address the fact that lanterns carrying naked flames cannot be controlled, according to the CLA.
But, says the Association, the code contains so many restrictions on their use that it effectively bans their launch anywhere in the UK.
The publication Industry Code Of Practice – Sky Lanterns was published this week by the Trading Standards Institute.
CLA Midlands rural adviser Donna Tavernor said: “We have to remember that this is guidance, not law, but it makes it very clear that anyone launching a lantern - even if they comply with the code – could leave themselves open to criminal charges or civil claims for damages.
“We could accuse this code of tinkering round the edges of a serious problem, but in doing so it has placed so many checks and restrictions on their manufacture, distribution and launch that it would be a challenge to comply with all the conditions.
The code includes advice not to launch lanterns within 30 metres of trees or buildings, 100 metres of fields, power lines or haystacks and you must notify the authorities if you wish to launch within 10 miles of airfields, or by the coast. You should also launch in dry conditions with no wind, and not under the influence of alcohol or if you have any doubts about the weather.
Miss Tavernor added: “With an increasing number of retailers refusing to sell lanterns, and many local authorities and private venues banning their use, it seems at last that that their days are numbered.
“The CLA and many other organisations have been calling for a outright ban on their use, and will continue to do so, but in the meantime farmers and property owners everywhere will continue to keep a nervous eye on the sky in case they become the latest victim of this airborne menace.”
CLA President Henry Robinson said: “We have campaigned for many years on the dangers posed by sky lanterns and while the new code of practice will go some way in controlling their use, they remain a serious fire hazard.
“These flying bonfires endanger the lives of grazing livestock while their burnt out remains are hazardous to wildlife and create unnecessary litter.
“We urge the public to think twice about the implications of releasing a naked flame with no control over where it will land. Without an outright ban, it is up to the public to do the right thing and stop using dangerous sky lanterns.”