MP calls for sky lantern ban as farmers' concerns grow

A Yorkshire MP who wants a ban on sky lanterns has called the products 'lethal litter'
A Yorkshire MP who wants a ban on sky lanterns has called the products 'lethal litter'

An MP is leading calls for the government to enact a ban on sky lanterns due to growing concerns over their fire risk and litter.

To date, more than 160 councils across the UK have banned the products, recognising the danger they pose to animals and the environment.

The products are often made of paper, with an opening at the bottom where a lit candle is suspended.

Once released, they can drift for miles. On top of farmers' animal welfare concerns, sky lanterns are also a serious source of litter in the countryside.

Speaking in the House of Commons on 1 October, East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight renewed his call for a ban on sky lanterns.

He said a parliamentary debate was needed on a ban: “They are hazardous airborne litter that invariably lands on someone else’s property”, he said.

Replying, Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg acknowledged many of his constituents had also raised concerns, but he expressed a reluctance to introduce a ban.

Sir Greg pointed to a recent incident in Germany, where sky lanterns started a fire at a zoo killing many exotic primates.

"If we do not take firmer action here it is only a matter of time until another disaster strikes," he said.

"I am calling for the law to be changed because I think we need to introduce a specific ban to deal with this problem.

"After all, these lanterns are potentially lethal litter.”

FarmingUK shared a video from Merseyside arable farmer Olly Harrison earlier this year, who pleaded with the public to stop using the items.

He found a burnt out sky lantern on his farm last month and warned that the devices can harm livestock and set fire to property.

Fortunately, he did not suffer crop or livestock losses. However, with his arable fields, livestock, barns full of bales, and a shed full of wood chippings means this is a constant worry and stress.

The video has been viewed by more than 2 million people and has been shared 50,000 times.