Union calls for lanterns ban

Lanterns can cause harm to the health of livestock when they have landed in farmers fields and been eaten.
Lanterns can cause harm to the health of livestock when they have landed in farmers fields and been eaten.

Scottish Borders Council currently has no plans to ban sky lanterns on their land despite lobbying from NFU Scotland.

Following lobbying by NFUS since October seven local authorities have now banned the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons on their land. However, 17 councils have yet to take action, one of them being Scottish Borders Council

A spokesperson for SBC said: “This matter is being kept under review, but there are currently no plans to ban sky lanterns,”

Ahead of bonfire night last year, the Union wrote to all of Scotland’s councillors of those local authorities which did not have bans in place.

Councils who have banned sky lanterns and balloons since the Union’s correspondence are: Inverclyde Council, Argyll and Bute Council, Fife Council, East Lothian Council, West Lothian Council and Dundee with Edinburgh City Council currently putting measures in place.

They join Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Falkirk, Highland, Perth and Kinross and Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, which have already banned the release of sky lanterns and/or helium balloons.

NFUS oresident Andrew McCornick, said: “Thank you to all those who have taken this issue forward with their local authorities to action bans, however we need those who have yet to take action to take this forward to make our countryside a safer place for animals and people.

“Sky lanterns are seemingly innocent devices, and are beautiful to look at, but they can cause untold damage as there is no control over where these burning structures of paper, metal and wood decide to land.

“Across the UK, there have been many reports now of fires started by lanterns and harm to the health of livestock when lanterns have landed in farmers’ fields and been eaten.

“There is a further risk to stock when grass is cut and ensiled for winter feed, and the wire is chopped up and subsequently contained in hay or silage.”