‘Ban lanterns to cut fire risk’

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Bedfordshire’s councils are being urged to ban sky lanterns ahead of Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve to protect residents, businesses, and environment from the “enormous” risks they pose.

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, has contacted the county’s councils asking for the release and sale of lanterns to be outlawed.

CLA East Regional Director Ben Underwood said: “The fire risks associated with releasing sky lanterns is significant, posing a threat to homes, businesses and lives in both urban and rural areas. Our campaign to have lanterns banned has been running for almost three years and is supported by the RNLI, The Chief Fire Officers Association, and Local Government Association (LGA). A total of 25 councils in England have already banned them.

“A council ban sends out a strong message that this is a very important issue and highlights to the public the risks associated with releasing a sky lantern.

“It would be a real boost if Bedfordshire’s councils backed our stance and helped ensure that someone’s home, property, business or life isn’t destroyed by one of these flying bonfires.”

The organisation also wants councils to feature information on their websites regarding the dangers of releasing lanterns and a plea to the public to reconsider their use.

Mr Underwood added: “Even after it has finished flaming, the fuel cell of a lantern can register a spot temperature of over 200°C – and even after two minutes it can be around the 100°C mark. Lanterns landing or crossing fields can panic livestock, but the biggest concern to farmers is that their animals can suffer a slow, agonising death if they ingest debris from spent lanterns.”