RSPCA Cymru closer to 'outright ban' on sky lanterns

People releasing lanterns into the sky Image copyright Getty Images

Sixteen out of Wales' 22 councils have now banned the use of sky lanterns on their land.

Torfaen council has become the latest authority to take action against lanterns which can be harmful to animals and cause fires.

RSPCA Cymru is campaigning for an "outright ban" on their use across Wales.

The councils yet to impose a ban are Flintshire, Wrexham, Anglesey, Newport, Merthyr Tydfil and Swansea.

The RSPCA said over 200,000 sky lanterns (also known as Chinese lanterns) are sold in the UK each year. They can be eaten by animals or cause entanglement or entrapment which can have fatal consequences.

They have even been known to injure people.

Image copyright Simon Pain@Billow Farm
Image caption Dead barn owl entangled in discarded lantern

Paul Smith, RSPCA Cymru's public affairs manager, said: "Sadly, many people are not aware of how harmful they can be for animals - including birds, wildlife and farm animals.

"Stationary candles, LED lanterns and outdoor lights all provide safe alternatives to deadly sky lanterns."

Mr Smith added an "outright ban" remains the charity's primary objective.

"We'd love to see the Welsh Government bringing forward proposals to achieve that in Wales," he said.

The leader of Torfaen council, Anthony Hunt, said: "For some time we have recognised the dangers associated with the use of sky lanterns and have responded to the growing expectation for local authorities to ban the release of sky lanterns and massed balloons from council owned land".

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