Fife Council ban on lanterns and balloons

Council bans sky lanterns on its properties
Council bans sky lanterns on its properties

Fife Council has joined 33 other UK local authorities in banning sky lanterns and helium balloons on its land or at events supported by it.

It will also include a prohibition against them and mass balloon releases within the licence agreements for the lease or hire of any of its land or premises and help raise awarness of the environmental consequences and dangers posed by such actions and suggest alternatives.

The move comes after a motion raised at last week’s Fife Council meeting was approved unanimously by councillors.

An impassioned appeal by Councillor Andy Heer pointed out the dangers posed by the mass release of balloons as well as those of sky or Chinese lanterns.

In his speech he said: “We have all been to parties or barbecues where people let off lanterns or balloons and they go floating away in the sky. They may look very pretty, but what goes up must come down and they fall down where they could be eaten by domestic animals or wild animals or float on the sea causing potential danger to sea creatures.”

He said that events with balloon and sky lanterns had hugely increased in recent years and gave examples of how they had caused injuries or even death to wildlife and livestock from entanglement, choking or burning.

Lanterns had the additional threat of potential damage to property and often led to false callouts by the coastguard.

He said that regional authorities in Canada, the USA and Australia had banned balloon releases, while lanterns were also banned in Australia as well as Malta, Vietnam, Spain and most parts of Germany.

And in the UK, organisations such as the National Farmers Union, the Coastguard and RSPB were also calling for a ban.

He highlighted an incident in Kirkcaldy’s Chestnut Avenue where a Chinese lantern had damaged property.

The motion was seconded by Councillor Elizabeth Ritches, who said that in bringing it forward they respected that groups wanted to mark special events, but they could do this in alternative ways, with advice from the council.

Councillors approved the motion unanimously.