Appeal over Chinese lantern use during harvest

With the combines starting to roll across Sussex’s fields for this year’s harvest, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is appealing for the public to not release Chinese lanterns.

The aftermath of a field fire.
The aftermath of a field fire.

The CLA fears that standing crops and straw stacks will be at risk because of an expected upsurge in lantern sales and use fuelled by the holiday and wedding seasons.

A CLA spokesman said: “We don’t want to spoil people’s fun, but people should be aware that these lanterns are serious fire hazards.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

“They also endanger the lives of grazing livestock as well as other wildlife, and create unnecessary litter.

“Releasing a naked flame with absolutely no control over where it will land poses a serious threat to rural businesses, wildlife and the environment.

“If one of these flying bonfires were to land in a tinder dry field or on a straw stack then the farmer could be facing a very costly blaze that would not only endanger his business, but potentially human lives too.

“There is also the real threat the remnants of the lantern could be cut up and end up in silage eaten by cattle, which would cause the unfortunate animal to suffer a slow and agonising death.”

A report published in 2013 on behalf of Defra that investigated the impact of sky lanterns on livestock and the environment estimated between three and eight million lanterns are sold each year in the UK.

It concluded that ‘the fire risk associated with the use of sky lanterns is significant”.

While many local authorities have decided to ban lanterns from being sold or released from their land and property, the Government has not yet ordered a ban.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.