Sky lanterns and helium balloon release
We're supporting a ban on the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons on any land or property owned by us and taking other steps to prevent their use.
To do this we have committed to encouraging businesses, communities, landowners and citizens to consider alternative ways of celebrating and commemorating events.
Sky lanterns and helium-filled balloons can cause many problems. They:
- pose a significant fire hazard to buildings, woodland and farmland
- are a litter nuisance - farmers and other landowners have to clear up the remnants and even bamboo lanterns marked 'biodegradable' can still take decades to degrade
- can cause suffering or even kill wild animals and farm livestock
The government guidance on celebrating with bonfires and fireworks recommends that you do not use sky lanterns as you have no control over them once they've been set off. They can kill animals, litter the countryside and start fires.
Our local pledge
In 2018 we pledged to:
- support a ban on the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons
- review the terms under which council land and premises are let to the public with a view to prohibiting their release
- write to town and parish councils and event venues in Uttlesford highlighting the risks and urging them to introduce voluntary bans
- write to Uttlesford's MP urging action at a national level
- display publicity in council premises raising awareness of the risks posed
- treat reports of release of sky lanterns and helium balloons as potential littering offences
More about the Uttlesford pledge on sky lanterns and helium balloons.
There are many fun alternatives to balloon and sky lantern releases such as tree planting, flag flying, or even releasing giant bubbles! You can find some environmentally-friendly suggestions on the RSPCA website.