Keep the sky lanterns firmly on the ground, urges NFU Scotland

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The public are being asked to consider their agricultural neighbours before setting off sky lanterns and fireworks.

As bonfire night approaches, NFU Scotland is urging people to consider farmers, crofters and their livestock, and avoid using dangerous sky lanterns this year.

Sky lanterns are constructed from paper with a wire or wooden frame and contain a lighted candle, they are a proven fire risk and can be a danger to animals and farm buildings. It is NFU Scotland’s stance that these should not be available to the public as there is no way to guarantee them landing safely.

When sky lanterns fall on farm land they can have devastating effects on those farm businesses. The frame material can get mixed up into feed, such as silage or grain, and be accidently digested by livestock the effects of which can be fatal.

Lanterns are also a serious risk to farm buildings, which may house hay and straw, or other flammable products. Sky lanterns have been known to set fire to sheds, causing serious damage and loss to the farm business. With straw and hay at such a premium this year any incident like this could cause significant financial hardship for farmers and crofters. The Union is also asking those who are thinking of setting off fireworks, to think about where they will be setting them off in relation to livestock.

The loud noises from fireworks can be extremely destressing for cows, sheep, horses and poultry, and can lead to animals becoming agitated, getting loose from their fields or housing, and can often seriously injure themselves and others.

Around 1 in 14 vets across the UK reported seeing animals with firework-related injuries over 2018.