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Uttlesford supports ban on release of sky lanterns and helium balloons

Uttlesford District Council is supporting a ban on the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons and is highlighting the risks they pose to property, animals and the environment.

Helium Balloons

At a meeting of Full Council last night (10 April) members backed a motion which resolves to:

  1. Support a ban on the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons
  2. Review the terms under which council land and premises are let to the public with a view to prohibiting their release
  3. Write to town and parish councils and event venues in Uttlesford highlighting the risks and urging them to introduce voluntary bans
  4. Write to Uttlesford's MP urging action at a national level
  5. Display publicity in council premises raising awareness of the risks posed
  6. Treat reports of release of sky lanterns and helium balloons as potential littering offences
  7. Request the Licensing Committee give consideration to the inclusion of a condition of entertainment licenses to prevent balloon and sky lantern release

The motion was put forward by Cllr Simon Howell and Cllr Janice Loughlin.

In a joint statement, they said: "This is not about banning party balloons - it is about sending out a clear statement about the dangers and consequences to wildlife and the environment by these apparently harmless items.

"Sky lanterns may look pretty but they are a major fire risk to crops and buildings. Their frames can cause serious harm to livestock and the debris is a hazard to wildlife. They are a litter nuisance and can also pose a danger to aviation traffic.

"The release of helium balloons is no different from any other form of littering. What is often not taken into account is the many years these items take to decompose and the impacts they have on wildlife and the environment.

"There is growing support nationally for the ban of released lanterns and balloons, including other councils and organisations such as the RSPCA, National Farmers Union and Marine Conservation Society. We want to prevent the release of lanterns and balloons from council-owned premises, and work to discourage their release elsewhere in the district because of the risks they pose."

11 April 2018