Call for total ban on Chinese lantern use

The NFUS wants to see a complete ban on the use of Chinese lanterns.

The NFUS wants to see a complete ban on the use of Chinese lanterns.

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Farmers and crofters across the area are calling on the public to have a happy - but lantern-free and considerate - bonfire night this November.

Speaking ahead of bonfires and fireworks being lit across the country on November 5, NFU Scotland is calling for Chinese lanterns to be banned from both personal use and from being part of any display.

The union is also urging those setting off fireworks to give consideration to any livestock that may be in fields or sheds nearby.

Chinese lanters, which are constructed from paper with a wire or wooden frame and contain and lighted candle, are a proven fire risk and can be a danger to animals.

They pose a fire hazard to stacks of hay and straw, woodland and farm buildings. If they land within crops grown to feed livestock, the frames risk being ingested, causing great harm to livestock.

Aberdeenshire Council is one of eight local authorities which have already banned the release of sky lanterns and/or helium balloons, but the union wants all local authorities to follow suit.

NFU Scotland’s animal health and welfare policy manger, Penny Johnston, said: “Bonfire night and fireworks are a long-established part of celebrations at this time of year. We believe people can have a great evening while taking the needs of those who live and work in the countryside into consideration.

“Sky lanterns are seemingly innocent devices, and are beautiful to look at, but they can cause untold damage as there is no control over where these burning structures of paper, metal and wood decide to land. Across the UK there have been many reports now of fires started by lanterns and harm to the health of livestock when lanterns have landed in farmers’ fields and been eaten.

“We applaud the action already taken by eight local authorities in Scotland and urge other councils to take their responsibilities seriously.”