Farm chiefs in Scotland have welcomed a county-wide ban for the use of helium balloons and sky lantern releases at public events by Angus Council and have urged others to follow suit.
The ban, which follows similar moves by councils and event organisations around the UK, comes after pressure from campaigners including Farmers Guardian.
In July 2013 Farmers Guardian launched its Say No To Sky Lanterns initiative which aims to raise awareness of the damage and destruction the lanterns can cause to livestock and the environment. They also pose a major fire risk.
NFU Scotland’s animal health and welfare policy manager Penny Johnston said the products can be ‘detrimental’ to farmers.
“These seemingly innocent devices are beautiful to look at but can cause untold damage as we rarely know where they land,” she said.
“Across the UK, there have been numerous reports of harm to livestock, and in some instances death, when lanterns have landed in farmers’ fields, and cattle have ingested the metal wires.
“There is a further risk to cattle when grass is cut and ensiled for winter feed, and the wire is chopped up and subsequently contained in hay or silage. We welcome this move by Angus Council, however we would ask other local authorities to implement a ban on the release of sky lanterns.”