The NFU is urging people not to release Chinese lanterns at summer celebrations, following the driest spring on record in the South East. With the party season underway, the trade association is warning people that the flying lanterns can cause fires, kill farm animals and litter the countryside.
NFU South East spokeswoman Isobel Bretherton says: “We’re asking people to think twice and decide against releasing Chinese lanterns. They may look attractive but they often land on farmland, with potentially disastrous results.”
She explained: “The wire frame of lanterns can accidentally be eaten by farm animals, particularly cattle, causing slow, agonising deaths. Animals can be injured when they get entangled in the wire or bamboo-frames.
“This summer, the risk of fire is greater than ever and Chinese lanterns pose a serious threat when they land in farmyards and fields. A fire now could leave a farmer without any winter feed for animals or facing an income shortfall if crops go up in smoke. It is well known that they caused serious crop fires last summer,” adds Ms Bretherton.
The Chief Fire Officers’ Association shares the NFU’s concern about the fire risk that Chinese lanterns pose.