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Ban the flaming menace

Ban the flaming menace

Sky lantern_47869

If you were to throw a crisp packet or newspaper to the ground, you might reasonably expect to be fined and spoken to by the authorities. But somehow, setting fire to a paper sky lantern and releasing it to land who-knows where, is still deemed acceptable.

Well, we don’t think so, and are calling for an outright ban. Yes, they might look pretty, but in the run-up to Bonfire Night and the festive season, there’s many better ways to celebrate.

So, 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, houses with thatched roofs, plus lots more are all at significant risk of being set alight.

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, particularly if animals eat it. Animals eating lantern debris can suffer from tears or punctures to internal organs, leading to a potentially life-threatening situation.

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.

Sky lanterns_44053

How you can help?

Help us campaign to ban sky lanterns by:

  • Speaking and writing to local event venues asking them to introduce voluntary bans in their premises and get behind the campaign
  • Spreading the message to friends and family – one way of doing this is sharing your views on social media and local community Facebook page
  • Downloading our sky lantern fact sheet and displaying it on your community noticeboard, pub, local GP surgery or veterinary practice. Visit and click on the Back British Farming section and search under sky lanterrns.
  • Writing letters to your local council or MP.

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Have your say on this

Your comment will be checked by our moderation team and may be used in other NFU publications. Commenting guidelines

  • Posted by: Pat Tomlinson Posted on: 23/10/2017 22:59:59

    Comment: These are a menace and I try to dissuade people from using them, not always successfully!
  • Posted by: Maggie CurriePosted on: 24/10/2017 13:31:09

    Comment: These things are dangerous and can be fatal. They can land on barns and set light to them causing thousands of pounds of damage and lost feed, equipment and livestock. They must be banned.
  • Posted by: Sylvia SurteesPosted on: 24/10/2017 19:37:58

    Comment: This things should be banned. They can blow into stables & livestock barns while still alight. Never mind the injuries to animals feet from the wires that are all over the country side. Everything ends up as litter, which is an offence.
  • Posted by: Hazel TerryPosted on: 25/10/2017 10:17:35

    Comment: Ban the lantern!!
  • Posted by: Lucy ColePosted on: 25/10/2017 12:04:31

    Comment: These things are a total menace and they need to be banned now
  • Posted by: S Day Posted on: 25/10/2017 15:28:29

    Comment: Signed
  • Posted by: Christine ball Posted on: 25/10/2017 20:01:04

    Comment: Dangerous things
  • Posted by: Carol Mckeon Posted on: 25/10/2017 21:45:19

    Comment: These are dangerous. To all animals. . And should be banned. One Horse killed itself after running into fence after one these fell across his face.
  • Posted by: Linda MerrillsPosted on: 26/10/2017 01:56:28

    Comment: These should be banned they are extremely dangerous to our countrysides
  • Posted by: Mrs Rosemarie J LeePosted on: 26/10/2017 07:37:24

    Comment: Hate these things. Ban them asap. Dangerous in so many ways.
  • Posted by: Michele HardingPosted on: 26/10/2017 14:36:36

    Comment: A huge danger to animals and agricultural buildings, and could easily start Heath fires. . Also to thatched houses!! Should definitely be banned!
  • Posted by: Sarah FurnessPosted on: 28/10/2017 00:34:48

    Comment: Raise awareness in schools please!
  • Posted by: S.moorePosted on: 30/10/2017 08:32:17

    Comment: These need to be banned
  • Posted by: Eileen CarrPosted on: 31/10/2017 08:41:50

    Comment: Definitely need to ban these dangerous objects and make sure the ban is implemented!
  • Posted by: Philip MageePosted on: 02/11/2017 08:30:26

    Comment: An obvious danger. Have them banned.
  • Posted by: Jane HodgsonPosted on: 05/11/2017 19:22:22

    Comment: These lanterns are a danger to the public, a danger to livestock and to farmers property i.e. hay and straw stacks and outdoor farm buildings containing livestock if the buildings aren't modern i.e. wooden hen huts etc. They may cause a sensation in use but they are a menace to to farming folk and should be banned. If the public realised what expense was incurred with losses of stock and feed and how it affects farming income they would surely think again before using them. BAN THEM PLEASE. ( Retired farmers wife )
  • Posted by: Carol BrinsonPosted on: 17/11/2017 19:10:59

    Comment: A recent advert on ITV4 for Bud Light beer included a sky lantern. This particularly surprised me as Budweiser have such brilliant ads featuring horses. The Bud Light one didn't, but was lovely, apart from the lantern. I wrote to the Advertising Standards Authority to complain and had a very reasonable and full reply including : "We do acknowledge that there is concern about the safety and environmental impact of Chinese lanterns, but we note that the lanterns are currently legal for sale and use in the UK." and "Nevertheless, your complaint will be kept on file and will be used for future consideration." At least this has given the issue some publicity.
  • Posted by: Karen jonesPosted on: 10/10/2018 17:36:26

    Comment: Cruel to animals they should be banned
  • Posted by: Caroline dodsworth Posted on: 12/10/2018 08:06:38

    Comment: I am so frightened this time of year for myself aswel as my animals. Things falling from the sky that may cause terrible injuries and death. How can this be allowed.
  • Posted by: Christine HobbsPosted on: 12/10/2018 18:05:34

    Comment: Never should have invented. So dangerous in so many ways.
  • Posted by: Melanie SheppardPosted on: 12/10/2018 21:04:00

    Comment: These lanterns should be annex.
  • Posted by: Jane AbbottPosted on: 13/10/2018 18:44:22

    Comment: Definitely ban these awful things
  • Posted by: Sandra moranPosted on: 17/10/2018 18:01:08

    Comment: They are dangerous
  • Posted by: Katie LockwoodPosted on: 18/10/2018 10:11:24

    Comment: These Lanterns are dangerous in so many ways. They can hurt and frighten wildlife and can cause fires. The Government is negligent in not banning them.
  • Posted by: Bridget FowkesPosted on: 31/10/2018 22:57:45

    Comment: These lanterns should be banned as they put livestock and wildlife at risk, if they are used over the coast it’s just more rubbish in our seas.
  • Posted by: S QuickePosted on: 26/10/2017 10:07:39

    Comment: I fully agree with the banning of these dangerous objects.
  • Posted by: Margaret CloggPosted on: 29/10/2017 12:00:08

    Comment: Having barns and livestock plus living in a very dry area we are very worried they are even worse than the fireworks which land in our fields.
  • Posted by: Susan FisherPosted on: 30/10/2017 13:15:46

    Comment: There is nothing good to say about these, they are a danger to livestock, buildings and traffic. Having suffered a major catastrophic barn fire which could have been caused by a Chinese lantern (the cause was not confirmed) I am hoping that sense will prevail and these menaces will be banned.
  • Posted by: H SwinglehurstPosted on: 19/11/2017 13:31:21

    Comment: Entire countries have banned the use of sky lanterns, including some within the EU! All animals, domestic and wild are at risk. Businesses are st risk. Property is at risk. People’s lives are at risk. They have to be a major health and safety risk. They. are cheap to buy but cause expensive damage. This needs serious attention at the top level and now.
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