- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
COUNTY-WIDE voluntary bans will curb the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons, Assembly Member Joyce Watson has said.
The Mid and West AM today welcomed a Welsh Government initiative to encourage local authorities to introduce voluntary bans on the “airborne hazards”.
She said: “Sky lanterns may look impressive in flight but they can be deadly on landing. They cause fire damage to crops and property, and both lanterns and balloons pose a serious threat to animal welfare. So a voluntary ban, decided locally, is a sensible approach.”
Natural Resources Minister, Alun Davies, has written to all local authorities in Wales to encourage them to introduce a voluntary ban on the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons.
The Minister has warned of the danger and stress that sky lanterns can pose to animals and has highlighted the fire risks, as demonstrated by the recent fire at the plastic recycling plant in the West Midlands.
Alun Davies said: “We want to make people aware of the risks and that is why I have written to local authorities across Wales to encourage them to introduce a voluntary ban on the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons. We are also supporting the UK Government’s efforts to work with retailers and manufacturers to ensure that clear warnings about the risk of helium balloons and sky lanterns are placed on packaging.”
The Minister has also urged charities to consider the impact of releasing lanterns and balloons and review their policies on their use in fundraising and events.
Mr Davies added: “I hope that Welsh charities think twice before releasing lanterns and helium balloons as there are many alternatives that are fun and equally as eye catching, but that don’t pose a fire risk or harm to the environment.”