Bedford Liberal Democrats welcome decision to ban Sky Lantern releases over council land

The council’s policy covers all types of balloon and sky lantern materials

By Holly Patel
Thursday, 12th March 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th March 2020, 5:01 pm

Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats have welcomed the council’s policy on Sky Lantern releases, which bans them from, over and on council land and premises.

The policy also confirms that any releases are considered potential littering and may be met with enforcement action.

The policy also covers balloon releases, which carry the same risk to the environment and potentially to wildlife or pets which discover them when they land.

Cllr Tim Hill

In addition to harm to the environment and animals, lanterns also represent a potential fire hazard, with no control over where they land.

The new policy was on the agenda at last week’s Bedford Borough Council environment overview and scrutiny committee.

Liberal Democrat committee spokesperson, cllr Tim Hill, said: “This is a common sense response to the very harmful impact that sky lantern releases can have on our environment and on animals, while also being a fire risk.

"It’s right that not only does the council ban this activity on its own land, but discourages lantern and indeed balloon releases more widely.

"It’s not about stopping people having fun – there are many alternatives to these activities and the policy commits the council to working with event organisers to identify suitable ones.

"It’s about avoiding the totally unnecessary harm that sky lantern and balloon releases can cause in our local communities."

The council’s policy covers all types of balloon and sky lantern materials.

It is consistent with the Marine Conservation Society’s thorough and detailed Pollution Policy and Position statement on Balloons and Sky Lanterns, which asks UK Local Authorities to recognise balloons and sky lanterns as a form of littering and to ban all outdoor releases.