Join our campaign to ban sky lanterns

Sky lanterns might look pretty but they are a serious danger to animals and the countryside.

Essentially a small hot air balloon made of paper, with an opening at the bottom where a candle is suspended, sky lanterns, can float for miles before they fall to the ground.

Every year up to 200,000 sky lanterns are released in the UK. These “floating flames” are highly dangerous.

They can:

  • Start wildfires
  • Kill animals
  • Destroy food growing in fields
  • Set homes and buildings alight

And the litter they leave in their wake is a blight on our beautiful countryside.

That’s why action is needed now.

Sign our petition for a total ban on sky lanterns

Show your support sky lanterns to be totally banned in England & Wales.

Sign the petition

Email your council

flying lanterns and hands, chinese lanterns, new year_26194

If your local council isn't already supporting the ban there are things that you can do to help.

Join us in our call for a complete ban on the release of sky lanterns.

Email your local council now. 

Take action now

Our campaign journey

NFU forms coalition calling for a national ban on sky lanterns

The NFU, alongside 17 leading farming, environment, animal and fire organisations, have written to the government to explain how their current approach not to regulate sky lanterns is now significantly out of date and out of line with other countries where the release of sky lanterns is considered an environmental crime due to the harm they cause animals, habitats and the countryside.

sky lantern infographic_78239

Fire chiefs join NFU campaign for sky lanterns ban 

The NFU has been joined by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) to increase campaigning for local authorities to ban sky lanterns and dissuade the public from setting off sky lanterns, reminding people of the dangers they pose to livestock and as a fire risk to buildings and the environment. 

Former NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts said: “We are delighted to have received the support of the NFCC on this crucial campaign, which highlights the devastating damage sky lanterns can cause to buildings and fields on farms. 

The NFU would like to see a total ban of sky lanterns across England and Wales to safeguard property and animals and, while we have already seen numerous councils ban sky lanterns, I would encourage the remaining local authorities to follow the good examples set by others across the country.” 

Paul Hedley, the National Fire Chiefs Council lead for wildfires, echoed the NFU's call:

"NFCC does not advocate the use of sky lanterns under any circumstances, at any time. 

"They pose a hugefire hazard, impact on agriculture, thatched properties and hazardous material sites, and risk the lives of animals.A fire caused by a sky lantern can be a complex and large scale incident and have huge implications on fire services. All emergency services are currently under unprecedented pressure due to COVID-19, and sky lanterns could put additional pressure on the fire service, and further strain on the NHS.” 

What are the risks?

Litter nuisance

Farmers and other landowners have to clear up the remnants of sky lanterns from their fields. Don’t be fooled by bamboo lanterns marked ‘biodegradable’ – they can still take decades to degrade.


Once a sky lantern is lit, nobody knows exactly where it will land. Fields of standing crops, hay and straw stacks, farm buildings housing animals, thatched roofs plus lots more are all at a significant risk of being set alight.

Wistanswick barn blaze_38609

Animals and livestock

Sky lanterns can cause suffering or even kill animals and livestock. Not just by fire, sky lantern debris can cause immense stress and injury.  Some of the key dangers are:

  • Animals eating lantern debris which can cause tears or punctures to internal organs leading to a potentially life-threatening situation
  • Animals getting splinters in their skin which may cause infection
  • Animals becoming trapped or tangled in debris
  • Frames of lanterns can contaminate crops which are then unknowingly fed to animals. 

False alarms

Sky lanterns pose a significant danger to aviation traffic such as planes and helicopters. There are concerns that lanterns can be drawn into aircraft engines and can delay take-off and landing.  In addition, lanterns drifting across a night sky are also commonly mistaken by the public and coast guards for marine distress signals.

Which councils have banned sky lanterns?

A number of councils have backed the campaign and banned the release of sky lanterns on council owned land. If you know that your local council has implemented a ban, but isn't on a list, please let us know by dropping our campaigns team an email.

North East
  • Bradford City Council
  • Calderdale Borough Council
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • Hartlepool Borough Council
  • Kirklees Borough Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • North Yorkshire County Council
  • Northumberland County Council
  • Redcar & Cleveland Council
  • Richmondshire District Council
  • Selby District Council
  • South Tyneside Borough Council
  • Wakefield City Council
North West
  • Bolton Borough Council
  • Carlisle City Council
  • Cheshire East Council
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Eden District Council
  • Fylde Borough Council
  • Lancaster City Council
  • Manchester County Council
  • Oldham Borough Council
  • Preston City Council
  • Rochdale Borough Council
  • Salford City Council
  • Stockport Borough Council
  • Tameside Borough Council
  • Trafford Borough Council
  • Wigan Borough Council
  • Wirral Borough Council
  • Wyre Borough Council
  • Anglesey (Ynys Môn)
  • Blaenau Gwent 
  • Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
  • Caerphilly (Caerffili)
  • Cardiff (Caerdydd)
  • Carmarthenshire (Sir Gaerfyrddin)
  • Ceredigion
  • Conwy 
  • Denbighshire (Sir Ddinbych)
  • Flintshire (Sir y Fflint)
  • Gwynedd
  • Merthyr Tydfil (Merthyr Tudful)
  • Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)
  • Neath Port Talbot (Castell-nedd Port Talbot)
  • Newport (Casnewydd)
  • Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)
  • Powys
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf 
  • Swansea (Abertawe)
  • Torfaen (Tor-faen)
  • Vale of Glamorgan (Bro Morgannwg)
  • Wrexham (Wrecsam)
West Midlands
  • Birmingham City Council
  • Bromsgrove District Council
  • Dudley Borough Council
  • Herefordshire Council
  • Malvern Hills District Council
  • Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council
  • Sandwell Borough Council
  • Shropshire Council
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Staffordshire Borough Council
  • Staffordshire County Council
  • Staffordshire Moorlands District Council
  • Telford and Wrekin Council
  • Warwickshire County Council
  • Warwick District Council
  • Wolverhampton City Council
  • Worcester City Council
  • Worcestershire County Council
  • Wychavon District Council
  • Wyre Forest District Council
East Midlands
  • Amber Valley Borough Council
  • Corby Borough Council
  • Derbyshire Dales District Council
  • Gedling Borough Council
  • High Peak Borough Council
  • Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council
  • Leicester City Council
  • Lincoln City Council
  • Newark & Sherwood District Council
  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Rushcliffe Borough Council
  • Rutland County Council
  • South Kesteven District Council
  • West Lindsey District Council
East Anglia
  • Babergh District Council
  • Basildon Borough Council
  • Braintree District Council
  • Breckland District Council
  • Broadland District Council
  • Broxbourne Council
  • Colchester Borough Council
  • Dacorum Borough Council
  • East Suffolk District Council
  • East Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Essex County Council
  • Fenland District Council
  • Great Yarmouth Borough Council
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • Ipswich Borough Council
  • Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council
  • Maldon District Council
  • Mid Suffolk District Council
  • Norfolk County Council
  • North Hertfordshire District Council
  • North Norfolk District Council
  • Norwich City Council
  • Rochford District Council
  • Suffolk Coastal District Council
  • Suffolk County Council
  • Tendring District Council
  • Three Rivers District Council
  • Uttlesford District Council
  • Waveney District Council
South East
  • Arun District Council
  • Bracknell Forest Borough Council
  • Brighton and Hove District Council
  • Canterbury City Council
  • Chesham Town Council
  • Chichester District Council
  • Dover District Council
  • Ealing
  • Eastleigh Borough Council
  • Hampshire County Council
  • Hastings Borough Council
  • Isle of Wight Council
  • Lambeth
  • Lewes District Council
  • Lewisham
  • Maidstone Borough Council
  • Merton
  • Mid Sussex District Council
  • Milton Keynes Council
  • Oxford City Council
  • Portsmouth City Council
  • Reigate & Banstead Borough Council
  • Redbridge
  • Rother District Council
  • Shepway District Council
  • South Oxfordshire District Council
  • Sutton
  • Swale Borough Council
  • Test Valley Borough Council
  • Thanet District Council
  • Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council
  • Vale of White Horse District Council
  • Wandsworth
  • Waverley Borough Council
  • West Berkshire Council
  • West Oxfordshire District Council
  • Winchester City Council
  • Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council
  • Wycombe District Council
South West
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council
  • Bristol City Council
  • Cheltenham Borough Council
  • Cornwall Council
  • Forest of Dean District Council
  • Gloucester City Council
  • Isles of Scilly
  • Mid Devon District Council
  • North Dorset District Council
  • North Somerset Council
  • Plymouth City Council
  • Poole Borough Council
  • Sedgemoor District Council
  • South Gloucestershire Council
  • South Hams District Council
  • Swindon Borough Council
  • Teignbridge District Council
  • Torbay Council
  • West Devon Borough Council
  • West Dorset District Council
  • Weymouth & Portland Borough Council
  • Wiltshire Council

Alternative ways to celebrate

Although an impressive sight, the dangers of releasing sky lanterns far outweigh the benefits. Here are just a few ideas of other ways to celebrate safely. If you've got any other ideas, we'd love to hear from you

  • Recycle your jam jars by adding a string of fairy lights or lighting a candle
  • Blow bubbles to create a pretty scene
  • Plant a tree or flowers in memory of your loved ones
  • Create a memorial plaque
  • Organise a memory walk in the great British countryside

To find out more, head over to RSPCA's website.

True stories from farmers affected by sky lanterns

Tony and Sue Robinson_26096

Beef and arable farming couple Tony and Sue Robinson from Coolham, West Sussex experienced a mass landing of 28 sky lanterns on their farm in 2013 and are urging people not to release them.

They believe they were lucky to escape a fire, given many sky lanterns had landed alight, scorching the ground around them.

Sue Robinson said: “All we want is for people to be aware of what could happen and we hope we will dissuade people from releasing sky lanterns. If this had happened three weeks earlier, during the dry weather, we could have had a major fire here as many lanterns landed in fields that were earlier growing corn. By the burn marks, many were still alight on landing. One landed yards from our supplies of winter straw and feed for the cattle.”

“These lanterns are not romantic or glamorous - they are in fact dangerous and they’re litter. I believe it is an offence to litter. Bamboo framed lanterns, like the ones that landed on our farm, do pose a fire risk and they could be dangerous to livestock.”

The couple, who have a herd of Sussex cattle, have written to their MP, Nick Herbert, making him aware of the problems sky lanterns cause. They have also written to the three parish councils of Thakeham, West Chiltington, Shipley & Coolham, asking the councils to discourage the release of sky lanterns.

Sky lantern charter takes off

Norfolk Sky Lantern Charter_71643

Norfolk County Council is urging individuals and organisations to ditch potentially dangerous sky lanterns and try to find new and innovative ways to celebrate important occasions.

Norfolk County Council has had a ban on the release of the lanterns on its land since 2015 and the charter aims to build on this.

Cllr Andy Grant, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Environment & Waste, said: “Please do encourage your organisation or business to sign the charter to pledge not only that there’ll be no sky lantern or helium balloon releases on their land, but also to promote new and sustainable ways to celebrate.”

NFU County Chairman Nick Deane told BBC Radio Norfolk: “We are delighted that the county council has introduced the charter and we would encourage anyone to sign up.

Figures show that Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service have been called to six reports of fires caused by sky lanterns since June 2014.

Three of the calls related to sky lanterns in trees and in one incident a lantern set alight to 200 square metres of marram grass at Waxham.

To find out more, visit: 

Last edited: 19 May 2022 at 14:22

Have your say

Tom Goss - 15/05/2020 14:41:17

Ban these dangerous lanterns. How are they not banned already?

Sandra Nash - 06/05/2020 09:34:55

We live in a thatched cottage and have had sky lanterns from Kettering land in our garden. Perhaps you could give Kettering Counsil a nudge,they are not on your list. Thankyou.

Margaret Duckworth - 29/04/2020 16:42:03

I agree with all the comments. Ban excuses do it soon.

Margaret nally - 28/04/2020 21:56:27

I am dismayed and very concerned that Merton council is not on the list of councils that have banned these obviously very dangerous contraptions

Rita Wells - 19/04/2020 08:52:14

I am shocked that so few of Yorkshire councils are not on this list. They should be, given the amount of farms/national park land and moirland that they cover. Shame on them

Seona Nairn - 17/04/2020 12:34:48

Clearly floating fire lanterns in the sky is extremely dangerous practice. I think if any one of us really gave the burning lanterns proper thought they would realise just how dangerous they are and dangerous in so many ways! . Sit down and see how many dangers they might cause and think again . I am sure there are less dangerous ways to create beauty and excitement at a festival or celebration !

Big Joe - 17/04/2020 09:09:57

They are dangerous to houses farms animals out buildings very high fire risk to everything who knows whare they land what damage they cause

anthea - 16/04/2020 23:17:17

Sad to see the newly amalgamated BOURNEMOUTH, POOLE and CHRISTCHURCH COUNCIL not listed as a council that has banned the use. (And not even separately either). With the New Forest to the east, extensive Dorset farmland to the north and west, the Purbecks to the South West and the Sea to the South - we are surrounded by natural beauty and valuable resources... Habitats and animals included. We really should be banning a floating firebomb and the dangerous debris it leaves when it does burn out. Yet another bad idea imported from China!!!

KAREN Calderwood - 16/04/2020 23:08:14

No no no to these lanterns.. so harmful to our wildlife

Doris Jones - 16/04/2020 22:59:51

I recall some problems with small aircraft having to change tack suddenly when a large number of lanterns were entering their airspace. I support a ban.

Doris Jones - 16/04/2020 22:59:31

I recall some problems with small aircraft having to change tack suddenly when a large number of lanterns were entering their airspace. I support a ban.

Andrew - 16/04/2020 21:06:18

Yes of course they should be banned if I was to go and walk up to Hay barn or a thatched roof and set fire to I’ll be arrested and locked up so what’s the difference That’s when these people let this rubbish off they do not know where they gonna end up plus a lot of these have wire in I am can get into livestock's stomachs and kill them absolutely Criminal activitywho ever thought of this idea being released in the UK should be lockedup

Sue Anderson - 16/04/2020 20:43:20

The fire hazard but especially the danger to livestock, at present lambs an d pregnant ewes. , not to mention wildlife.Nationwide ban NOW.

Jo Stewart - 16/04/2020 17:20:35

Need banning across the board. Extremely dangerous as they are totally uncontrolled once lit & released.

Julie Stringer - 16/04/2020 13:20:05

I agree that sky lanterns should be banned as they are dangerous to the environment.

David Hickory - 16/04/2020 12:17:56

Yet more danger originating in China. These things should be banned completely and importers and distributors prosecuted by Trading Standards.

jane mitchell - 16/04/2020 11:51:38

Although sky lanterns may look pretty from a distance, they are dangerous and yes, they should be banned as they pose a fire hazard and a danger to animals.

Carl Leverett - 16/04/2020 10:08:59

Ban these death traps

Gill Palmer - 16/04/2020 08:07:19

Please Ban for good in all areas, so dangerous

Janine Levy - 16/04/2020 08:07:07

As pretty as they are in the sky they do so much damage to animals and start fires we do not need to fight for goodness sake

Lynne Rous - 16/04/2020 07:44:00

Ban them please!

Carol Agnew - 16/04/2020 07:12:22

I don't see any Scottish councils listed here. I sincerely hope that is an oversight and not ignorance, or apathy, on the part of Scotland.

Zane Lloyd - 16/04/2020 06:22:01

Just have a UK wide ban on the sale, and fine both those who sell or possess them. You can't control where they end up, and I can't see how the people releasing them will be able to collect them later. It's littering. Adding fire to the mix, how can this be legal?

Mel Brown - 15/04/2020 22:04:20

These should be banned due to fire risks and scaring of animals

Jenny Vieyra - 15/04/2020 18:52:56

They should be banned by the Government not just whichever Council chooses to. I don't have a problem with standard old fashioned pretty fireworks but the modern ones that sound like bombs must be banned, they are so horrendous, bad for people but diabolical for animals. So, any Government member reading this, please do something about these issues.

Carol Stevens - 15/04/2020 14:30:28

Lanterns are highly dangerous to humans, animals and buildings. It has always surprised me that the National Fire Chiefs Council do not actively press for their ban country-wide.

simon jackson - 15/04/2020 11:03:35

Flood the company's webpage with complaints!!

Grace Roberts - 15/04/2020 09:26:22

I see my council (Norwich) have banned them on council owned property. But I think the ban should be implemented country wide. They are a dreadful fire hazard and dangerous to many aspects of country and city life. The same goes for balloons and fireworks.

Heather Hummel - 15/04/2020 09:13:18

Yes definitely ban these lanterns, they are a fire hazard not only to property but to wildlife and domestic animals alike. They do so much damage and if let off at the moment to say thank you to the NHS we are only adding to their workload. Please do the responsible thing and clap on a thursday night instead.

Olwen Barrs - 14/04/2020 23:11:01

These things are a terrible fire risk and a danger to livestock.

Vanessa Lynsdale - 14/04/2020 23:06:11

Ban them forever.

Ann Curry - 14/04/2020 22:58:13

I used to love sky lanterns and when the Hospice where my husband passed away used to have a summer remember servis and we all would stand outside the church and let the lanterns go into the sky it was a lovely way to remember all those that had died That was quite some time ago and when I read what damage they did and how not only property was damaged but being a real animal lover how animals were hurt and suffered I was pleased when that didn't happen .I know my husband would have also agreed .Im so pleased to see North Somerset which is the area I live in has band them and quite rightly so .

Alan Porter - 14/04/2020 22:48:41

We are in Norfolk our council are Breckland CC they are not on your list and need to be told, as the whole area is mainly farming.

Hilary Harrop - 14/04/2020 21:18:52

Please ban sky lanterns, but please please please ban fireworks,, humans suffer because of them physically and mental costing the NHS. Also animals suffer terribly and can’t understand.

Eileen Nicholson - 14/04/2020 20:23:07

They kill annimals and destroy property. What kind of idiot sends fire up into the sky and has no control over where or on what it lands? Horses have been burned in their stables and fields - cattle choked on the debris. All so some profiteer can make a few quid off the back of the NHS? How can that be right on any level?

John Clark - 14/04/2020 19:53:34

also banned by Portishead town council, on the coast where they have caused false alarms for lightboats,

Elaine - 14/04/2020 19:37:57

These lanterns are a danger to wildlife and our countryside (fire hazard - dry weather) BAN PLEASE

Susan Turnbull - 14/04/2020 19:04:10

These are dangerous, Ban them, fine those who make / sell them, Stop the sale. Ban them.

Dave Deeming - 02/01/2020 19:17:16

Yep, ban these dastardly things, not just on council land, but everywhere in the UK. Ban the sale of fireworks to members of the public, too. New government, new Prime Minister, who, it is said, is keen on animal welfare. Let us all, everyone reading these posts, bombard our MPs until these horrendous, dangerous, antisocial, and unnecessary things are banned from this country forever! It's taking too long!

Ash Touhig - 02/01/2020 14:05:13

Need to stop producing them! 30 animals died inc 5 orangutans, 1 chimp, many monkeys, birds and animals New Years Eve, Krefeld Zoo Germany - where it is banned already but purchased off the internet

Janice kirk - 31/12/2019 15:22:47

Until a bill is passed by the government to completely ban the sale of sky lanterns, unfortunately it will never stop. It does not carry any weight councils banning it. Legislation needs to be put in place

Adie Barker - 31/12/2019 00:08:37

Damage to farms due to fires and the death of animals.

James Clark - 15/12/2019 20:29:57

Sky lanterns should be banned by the many not the few.

Kathleen Barnes - 25/10/2019 16:35:34

These lanterns should be banned

Julie gearing - 15/08/2019 13:16:40

Should be banned totally.

Gillian Clement - 05/04/2019 23:52:56

I agree with Patsy Alcock. Fireworks are also a menace when they are repeatedly let off over a period of days, sometimes weeks. There should be an allocated Saturday nearest to 5th November when only organised events are allowed displays. That way pet owners will know when to keep thier animals indoors.

Matthew Waddington - 30/03/2019 09:35:31

They can look beautiful. For a few minutes. But not worth the damage done to wildlife, livestock & property. They need to be banned.

Patsy Alcock - 28/03/2019 20:18:53

Not only do sky lanterns want banning but fireworks should be confined to organised displays and advertised locally so that those people whose animals are scared of them are forewarned.

Jane Neatrour - 08/02/2019 21:28:12

Ban these dangerous lanterns

Join the conversation

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.