Farming Minister George Eustice has formally rejected calls for a ban on sky lanterns, saying the risks they pose to animals and the environment are ‘relatively minor’.
Mr Eustice made the remarks in response to a written question from Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson, who had asked for new regulation on sky lanterns to protect livestock on farms.
“Any action we take must be proportionate to the level of risk”, he said.
“An outright ban would be disproportionate in the circumstances, so across Government, we have been taking forward a series of non-regulatory measures aimed at minimising the risks associated with sky lanterns and driving up safety standards.
“Local authorities are also using existing powers to restrict or regulate the use of lanterns on council-owned land.”
NFU deputy president Minette Batters said the union would continue to lobby Government until an outright ban was in place.
“Sky lanterns not only affect farm animals but can also set fire to crops, grassland on moors and bales of hay and straw that have been stacked, which can lead to a loss of buildings”, she added.
“It is really encouraging that dozens of local authorities across the country are seeing sense and have banned the release of lanterns on their land. However, we would like to see many more follow suit.
“Members of the public can play a big part by backing British farming and writing to their local councils spelling out how dangerous sky lanterns can be.”