More than 100,000 people have signed an NFU petition that calls on the government to ban sky lanterns across England and Wales. The petition has been further supported by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), the RSPCA and Keep Britain Tidy.
Farmers have continually reported the threat that sky lanterns pose to agricultural businesses. They have been known to cause wildfires, as well as hurt livestock and wildlife.
The petition will be sent to Defra, which has commissioned research to investigate the impact of sky lanterns on the countryside.
NFU deputy president Tom Bradshaw said: “Over 200,000 sky lanterns are released every year in the UK and we have heard countless examples of the harm to animals and wildlife. They cause unnecessary litter across our beautiful countryside and cause fires, putting an unnecessary strain on public safety services such as local Fire and Rescue Services.
“The British public care deeply about this issue, as evidenced by more than 100,000 people who have signed and shared our petition. We are grateful for their show of support and hope that the public backing highlights the urgent need for the government to implement a ban.
“Farmers applaud the 186 councils across England and Wales which have already banned sky lanterns, and it’s positive that Defra is commissioning research into the issue. Sky lanterns are already banned in Austria, Germany and Brazil. It’s time now for our government, which has just published the Environmental Improvement Plan, to follow its lead to create a safer and cleaner countryside.
“We look forward to continuing to support Defra on this matter and would welcome an update on the progress of the impact assessment as soon as possible.”