The Country Land and Business Association have called for a ban on sky lanterns – often referred to as “Chinese lanterns” – to cut the risk of fires and farm animal deaths.
The CLA, which has 34,000 members, supports landowners by advising them on how to protect their land.
Its North regional director Dorothy Fairburn said: “The concept of launching a flaming bonfire into the night sky with absolutely no idea of where it will land has always seemed reckless and bizarre.
“It is clear that sky lanterns represent a wholly unnecessary risk to property, woodland, crops, moorland and livestock.
“Many millions of pounds of damage has been caused by fires started by sky lanterns. Worse still, firefighters were hurt by the recent blaze at a Midland plastics recycling plant which was ignited by a sky lantern.’’
She said: “Even when sky lanterns don’t start fires, we have had reports from our members that cattle have died after ingesting the metal frames. Cows have been put down as a result. There is no doubt that a ban is in the public interest.” The fire broke out at the Jayplas recycling facility in Smethwick, near Birmingham, and became one of the largest blazes in the region in recent years.
West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service area commander Steve Vincent said at the time: “A Chinese lantern was spotted on CCTV floating across and into the site and starting a fire in plastic bales.”