Sky lanterns©Rex

The NFU has launched a letter-writing campaign in a bid to ban sky lanterns.

The union is calling on members of the public to write to their local authorities to urge them to introduce a voluntary ban on the release of sky lanterns.

As part of its Love your Countryside campaign, the NFU has put together a letter template that can be signed and sent to county, district, borough or town councils, encouraging them to vote on the issue.

See also: Rural council bans sky lantern releases

The list of councils that have already banned the release of lanterns on their land grows every week.

It now includes county councils in Essex, Staffordshire, Norfolk, Warwickshire and Cardiff and Waveney District Council.

Meanwhile, airports, fire services and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have also raised concerns over the similarity of sky lanterns to distress flares.

Evidence has shown that the frames of lanterns can harm or even kill farm animals if they are ingested.

Sky lanterns also pose a fire risk to standing crops and buildings, while littering is also a major problem.

The NFU continues to call for an outright ban and it will continue to lobby government until action is taken.

In the meantime, the union said members of the public could play a big part by writing to their local councils spelling out how dangerous sky lanterns can be. 

NFU deputy president Minette Batters said: “I know from personal experience just how dangerous sky lanterns can be after losing a cow from my own herd, which died after eating some fine wire from a lantern that landed on the farm – the post-mortem revealed that this was the cause of death. 

“But it’s important to point out that it’s not just farm animals that can be affected. Sky lanterns cause fires to crops, grassland on moors and bales of hay and straw that have been stacked, which can lead to a loss of buildings.”

The Country Land and Business Association, which represents the views of more than 33,000 farmers, landowners and rural businesses in England and Wales, has also called for sky lanterns to be banned.

See the sky lantern sample letter and letter writing guidance on the NFU website.