Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park appeals to the public and local businesses to avoid using sky lanterns as Bonfire Night approaches.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority and National Farmers Union, Scotland (NFU Scotland) have joined forces to ask members of the public and local businesses to avoid using sky lanterns, sometimes known as Chinese lanterns, during bonfire celebrations and at any other event throughout the year.
The lanterns, which are constructed from paper with a wire or wooden frame and contain a lit candle, are a proven fire risk and can be a danger to wildlife, forests and livestock. The lanterns are a considerable health risk to animals as if the frame is ingested it can cause serious harm or even death.
In recent years there have also been reports of the lanterns starting fires and damaging property across the UK.
Simon Jones, Director of Conservation and Visitor Operations at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park said: “Bonfire night is a much-loved tradition and whilst we want everyone to have a fun and safe time; we would ask the public, local businesses and event organisers to consider the detrimental impact lanterns can have to the environment.
“Sky lanterns can seem like an innocent way to celebrate special occasions but unfortunately they can cause unintentional damage as there is no control over where they land. We want everyone to enjoy the celebrations but it is important to highlight the dangers surrounding these items as many people may not be aware of the potential harm lanterns can cause to local wildlife and the environment.”
Fifteen Scottish local authorities including Perth and Kinross and Argyll and Bute which are both part of the National Park have already banned the release of sky lanterns and/or helium balloons. Sky lanterns are also prohibited on premises and grounds owned by Stirling Council which is also forms part of the Park. In addition, their use is prohibited during events in the Stirling Council area, and this is given as a condition to any event licence issued by the council.
Penny Middleton, NFU Scotland Animal Health and Welfare Manager said: “Across the UK, there have been many reports now of fires started by lanterns and harm to the health of livestock when lanterns have landed in farmers’ fields and have been eaten. There is a further risk to stock when grass is cut and used for winter feed, and the wire is chopped up and subsequently contained in hay or silage.
We applaud Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority, along with the fifteen local authorities in Scotland that have taken action against sky lanterns, and we would look to other local authorities to follow their lead and take their responsibilities as seriously.”
The Park Authority has also written to local businesses in the area, asking them to avoid using lanterns at events held on their land.