The Member of Parliament for Eastleigh, Mims Davies, has welcomed the first step taken by the House of Commons yesterday to ban sky lanterns which have been proven to cause countless fires on grasslands as well as injure animals and litter the countryside. The new bill – which came in the shape of a Ten Minute Rule motion - was brought before the House of Commons on Wednesday and it passed unopposed.
Commenting, Eastleigh MP, Mims Davies said:
“Whilst these lanterns may create a nice view for a few minutes, the hours that our emergency services have spent battling fires across moorland, industrial sites and forests show that sky lanterns have had their time.
“Sky lanterns don’t only pose a fire risk, they also potentially jeopardise the health of wildlife, if animals eat them, and they can pose a risk to aviation if they get caught in the engines of planes which is of particular importance to many of my constituents, with Southampton Airport located within our area. It is therefore clear that he risk posed by these lanterns far outweighs the aesthetic benefit and I look forward to watching the progress of this Bill. I therefore really welcome that the ten minute rule bill passed yesterday and that it will have a proper chance to be debated on 5th April.”
Once released, the paper and wire lanterns can travel up to 30 miles before burning out. All Welsh councils have banned the release of sky lanterns on council-owned land, and 70 councils in England—from Plymouth to Carlisle—have done the same. It’s welcome to see that one of the councils which has instituted a ban has been Hampshire County Council.