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UK move towards a sky lanterns ban

chinese3-1023x663After years of protest and pressure from campaign groups including AGreenerFestival, local authorities across the UK are now looking to ban ‘Chinese’ or ‘sky’ lanterns. The sky lantern, also known as Kongming lantern, are paper balloons with an opening at the bottom where a small fire is suspended. It is currently estimated that over 200,000 sky lanterns are launched in the UK every year. The Glastonbury Festival has prohibited the use of sky lanterns for some years to protect Worthy Farm and the surrounding countryside – one of Michael Eavis’s cows died after ingesting metal wiring from a burnt out sky lantern and Eavis said “I am surrounded by farmers and when Glastonbury Festival takes place it’s sky lanterns they get angry about.” Earlier this year Knebworth House also banned the use of sky lanterns, ahead of Sonisphere 2014. Knebworth managing director Martha Lytton Cobbold said the danger posed by sky lanterns to property, livestock, and the environment is something organisers have been aware of for a long time. The lanterns have been blamed for fires on farms and in woodland, deaths of domesgticv animals and wildlife and for causing unnecessary call outs for emergency services such as the Coastguard when lanterns are mistaken for distress flares.Lanterns are banned in Austria, Argentina, Chile, Spain, Brazil, Australia and some areas of China. The UK government has not ban sky lanterns, but the Trading Standards Institute has an industry code of practice to provide guidance for manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of sky lanterns, covering their manufacture, and warnings and instructions that must be provided.