The youngster kick-started a nationwide campaign against floating sky lanterns after warning a lack of industry backing to ban the flames could ‘see a lot more harm come’.
10-year-old Lexie Stephenson used the petition to raise awareness of the devastation caused in the West Midlands from falling lanterns and urged the RSPCA, National Farmers Union, and the Wildlife Trust to get on board with her call for a complete ban on their sale and use.
She said: “The lanterns are beautiful as they are, but float through the sky with no control where they may land.
“They can set things on fire very easily and can cause really bad injuries to animals with the wire or bamboo frames getting tangled up.
“If we do nothing about these dangerous lanterns we will see a lot more harm come to animals and our countryside.”
Although the petition was drafted seven months ago, it picked up this week (September 18) after a Gloucestershire farmer found his herd of grazing cattle chomping on more than 30 fallen sky lanterns, some of which landed whilst still lit.
Tewkesbury Borough Council and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service have responded to Ms Stephenson’s plea with full support to back the campaign, and CLA Midlands regional director Caroline Bedell said the petition added ‘fresh support’.
Farmers Guardian has also continued to push for a national ban with its ‘Say No to Sky Lanterns’ campaign, launched in 2013.
“I am delighted to support Lexie’s petition, which clearly points out what we all know - there is simply no responsible way to use sky lanterns,” Ms Bedell added.
“They can kill livestock and wildlife, litter the countryside and start fires. Those using lanterns obviously have no idea of the risk they pose, nor do they consider the implications of releasing a naked flame with absolutely no control over where it will land.
“Therefore, an outright ban on their use would be the only sensible way forward.”
The online petition has more than 1,460 supporters.