The NFU has revived its campaign to ban sky lanterns and asked farmers to lobby their local council ahead of Halloween and Bonfire Night.
Sky lanterns can injure or kill livestock and wildlife, cause fires that devastate farm land, buildings and animal food supplies, and the debris litter the countryside.
The union said it wants to see a total ban of sky lanterns in England and Wales, and encouraged farmers to ask their council to introduce a ban if there is not one already in place.
NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts said: “While we have already seen numerous councils ban sky lanterns, I would encourage the remaining local authorities to follow the good examples set across the country in order to avoid heightened and unnecessary strain on our already stretched emergency services, who need to focus on the national response to the coronavirus outbreak.”
Have you considered what can happen when a sky lantern lands?
See if your council has banned sky lanterns and use our quick and simple tool to email them if they haven’t 👉https://t.co/60JTL7rjpH#BackBritishFarming by not lighting sky lanterns this Halloween & Bonfire Night❌ pic.twitter.com/X6eY40nWIJ
— National Farmers’ Union (@NFUtweets) October 25, 2020
Mr Roberts added: “The NFU has heard from plenty of farmers about the devastating damage sky lanterns have caused to buildings and fields on their farm and the gruesome injuries they can cause to livestock and other animals that may ingest the debris.
“Simply put, all of these lanterns must land somewhere, and while they may look pretty in the sky when celebrating Halloween or Bonfire night, they also become unnecessary litter across our beautiful countryside.”
Landowners’ organisation the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) urged people not to use sky lanterns because there was no responsible way to do so.
Sarah Hendry, director general at the CLA, said: “You have no control over where the flame will land which poses a serious risk to homes and businesses in the countryside; they can also kill animals, cause wildfires and damage the environment.
“We want people to enjoy themselves on Bonfire Night and Halloween, but just as they will be taking safety precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, we want them to also consider the safety of their wider environment – and this means not releasing sky lanterns under any circumstances.”
[The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) called on anyone celebrating Bonfire Night to follow the firework safety code.
FUW deputy president Ian Rickman said: “We also remind people that sky lanterns have been banned on all public land by all councils across Wales, as they pose significant dangers to livestock and are, of course, a considerable fire safety risk.”
How to respond to a fire on farm
If a fire starts on your farm
- Make sure everyone evacuates the immediate area and remains in a safe location
- Call the Fire and Rescue Service without delay
- If possible, send someone to the farm entrance to direct the Fire and Rescue Service to the fire
- Prepare to evacuate livestock should the fire spread, but only if safe to do so
Source: NFU Mutual