Councillors say no to sky lantern and balloon releases

Councillors have unanimously backed a ban on the release of sky lanterns and balloons from council land.

The ban, which includes areas such as Minster Leas, Barton Point, Faversham Recreation Ground and Milton Creek Country Park, was agreed at Swale Borough Council’s council meeting on Wednesday, 22 November 2017.

A motion was submitted to the council by Cllr Cameron Beart, ward member for Queenborough and Halfway, who highlighted the dangers balloon and sky lantern releases pose to the local environment.

Cllr Beart, said:

“We are lucky to live in a borough that is rich with farmland, award winning coastline and internationally recognised natural environments like our bird reserves.

“All of these are endangered by these activities in one way or another and through taking action on this, I believe we can educate and work to avoid future damage.

“Often caught by the winds, lanterns can travel several miles and their path is variable and unpredictable with no responsibility borne by the person who released them.

“They can pose a significant fire hazard, and even if they touch down once extinguished, they blight the landscape as litter and can entangle animals or – worse still – be eaten by them.”

Cllr David Simmons, cabinet member for environment and rural affairs at the council, said:

“Litter is litter – whether it is a sky lantern, balloon, cigarette butt or a burger wrapper.

“People want to enjoy the countryside, without seeing it spoiled by rubbish blown in from who knows where.

“This ban shows we are determined to take action and encourage people to think about the consequences of their actions, and behave responsibly.” The ban means groups or organisations using council-owned land for events will not be allowed to release balloons or sky lanterns including public beaches, parks, sports grounds, play areas and woodlands