The CLA in the North East has backed a call from National Parks England to ban the use of sky lanterns.
The body, which represents all National Parks in the country, says sky lanterns - also known as Chinese lanterns - pose a significant fire risk, which has the potential to cause major damage to England’s finest landscapes and their habitats.
In a statement, it also highlighted the risks to livestock farming - key to the fabric of many National Parks - and called from the use of sky lanterns to be classified as littering.
The statement said: “There is increasing concern about the use of sky lanterns and their potential impacts on the countryside, both in terms of the health and welfare risks for livestock and the risk of fire being ignited by lanterns.
“A recent review of evidence carried out by Defra and the Welsh Government concluded that sky lanterns pose a significant fire risk.
“Fire is a very real concern in England’s National Parks, which contain many large and internationally important areas of heather moorland. Accidental fires can have a devastating impact on the special wildlife, vegetation and landscape of these areas.”
The problem, it says, is exacerbated by the fact that peat and heather moorland provide significant stores for locking up carbon, which is released when they catch fire.
“The use of sky lanterns can also have damaging consequences for livestock, which can become entangled in the lanterns or ingest the frames, causing damage and distress,” the statement continued.
“This is a further concern for us, as livestock farming is key to the fabric of many National Parks.
“National Parks England wishes to see these risks recognised and the intentional release of sky lanterns classified as littering and therefore banned.
“We believe that action should be taken to raise public awareness of the hazards associated with the use of sky lanterns and to encourage people to find more environmentally friendly ways to celebrate special events.”
CLA North Director of Policy & Public Affairs, Douglas Chalmers, said: “We have campaigned for many years on the dangers posed by sky lanterns, so we welcome National Parks England publicly stating they are a littering nuisance and its wish to see them banned.
“With the support of our region’s national parks and an increasing number of local authorities banning the release of lanterns from council-owned land, we hope the Government will take note of a growing desire to see the use of these flying bonfires banned.
“We urge people to think twice about the implications of releasing a naked flame with no control over where it will land. Without an outright ban, it is up to the public to do the right thing and use other more environmentally-friendly ways to celebrate an event.”
The CLA, which has a 34,000-strong membership, supports landowners by advising them on how best to protect and maximise their land assets.
CLA members own approximately half the rural land in England and Wales.