Council backs plans to ban launching sky lanterns and helium balloons

Scottish charity Animal Concern is calling for all 32 councils to introduce the ban.

North Lanarkshire Council backs plans to ban launching sky lanterns and helium balloons Getty Images

Proposals from animal welfare campaigners to clamp down on launching sky lanterns and helium balloons have been backed by North Lanarkshire councillors.

The council was approached by Scottish charity Animal Concern, which asked for a ban on these objects being launched from any of its land or premises.

Balloons and lanterns can be harmful to animals including marine life and also constitute a fire risk.

Others including farmers, Keep Scotland Beautiful, and firefighters have also supported bans and many councils in Scotland have already introduced measures.

Sky lanterns and helium balloons can seriously injure animals which eat them, from internal injury or asphysxiation to poisoning.

Animals have also become ensnared in lantern frames or the strings of balloons, while sky lanterns also present a fire risk wherever they land.

A report to councillors also stated that these objects present environmental problems as launches are effectively littering, even if not expressly covered by current legislation.

Members of NLC’s Environment and Climate Change committee unanimously supported the proposals in the report. Licensing policy for public events will be updated accordingly.

Animal Concern spokesperson Graeme Corbett said: “Another local authority in Scotland has recognised the risks sky lanterns and helium balloons pose, and the closer we get to our aspiration of 32 out of 32 local authorities in Scotland, pressure is bound to build on the Scottish and UK governments to act.”

“More and more local authorities are using the powers they have to do what they can. We’re approaching the point where Holyrood and Westminster must recognise their responsibility.

“Local governments like North Lanarkshire across the UK have shown leadership. It’s time parliamentarians did the same.”

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