Essex County Council bans sky lantern releases from its land

Essex County Council

Essex County Council - Credit: Archant

Sky lanterns can no longer be released from county council land after the authority agreed to an immediate ban.

The move has been introduced to reduce the threat of fires, danger to wildlife and unnecessary litter.

It applies to any Essex County Council-owned building or land – including country parks – and follows a similar move earlier this year by Great Bentley Parish Council and Tendring District Council.

Anyone caught lighting or releasing any form of sky lanterns from County Hall land will be asked to leave.

Roger Hirst, county councillor for communities, said: “While these lanterns may look nice when you launch them they can cause untold damage to our countryside, our wildlife and to our businesses.

“The remains of the lanterns can damage farming machinery if it gets caught up in its parts, start fires if still alight when they land, cause panic among and even kill animals, let alone becoming a litter nuisance.

“We have listened to the concerns of residents and rural businesses and taken action to protect our environment, businesses and wildlife. We now urge all residents to follow our lead and think twice before they launch one of these lanterns wherever they are in Essex.”

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The move has been backed by the National Farmers’ Union and the RSPCA.

The ban also covers buildings or land leased from County Hall, and will be included in any new leases granted.