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Council supports ban on sky lanterns

East Ayrshire Council’s Executive Committee agreed today not to support the release of sky lanterns or balloons in support of the NHS and to formally prohibit such activity in all public spaces in the ownership of the Council.

This decision was taken in response to a request received from NFU Scotland, who highlighted the risk of starting a fire or causing harm to wildlife and livestock through ingestion of these products.

The matter recently came to light on social media with manufacturers of Chinese lanterns calling for the public to use these products to demonstrate their support for the NHS by releasing lanterns on Sunday evenings throughout the Covid-19 crisis. 

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, welcomed this decision.

He said: “Whilst we believe that it is vitally important to show our support for the amazing work being carried out across the country by our NHS and other frontline services, it is equally important not to engage in any unnecessary activity that might potentially place any additional burden on our emergency services at this time.

“Chinese lanterns carry an inherent risk, even those claiming to be safe or biodegradable and they have been proven to be a fire risk in the past. We should not be encouraging their release at a time when our emergency services are already overloaded. 

“Helium balloons also pose hazards to wildlife and livestock causing injury and death. We urge the public to act responsibly and consider the risks posed by releasing helium balloons and sky lanterns and to continue to follow Government advice by staying home, keeping safe and not undertaking any non-essential work or travel.”