Council bans lantern release

editorial image

Aberdeenshire Council announced a new ban on the release of lanterns and gas-filled balloons on their land and property last week.

The ban was enforced with immediate effect last Thursday, July 10.

The intentional release of Chinese or sky lanterns or gas-filled balloons is now prohibited.

Their release by staff and at events endorsed or supported by the council, including those not on its land, is also prohibited.

Councillors approved this latest policy after hearing of the dangers lanterns and balloons can have on the environment.

Lantern releases have become increasingly popular across the country over the past few years, with many people using them at memorial or festive events.

Councillors approved a policy put forward by countryside rangers introducing a ban on intentional releases, which also outlined potential hazards and examples of incidents.

Members of the Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) heard how the release of lanterns and balloons has increased in recent years, as have problems associated with them.

A report set out how they pose hazards to wildlife and livestock, causing injury and death, and can injure humans, damage buildings and lead to false call-outs for the coastguard.

Common Dolphin, Risso’s Dolphin and Northern Fulmar, all present off the Aberdeenshire coast, have been found with latex balloons in their digestive system.

Turtles and sharks have been found to be affected elsewhere.

Parts of balloons and lanterns are regularly found on Aberdeenshire’s beaches during litter picks.

They have even turned up in the National Nature Reserve at Forvie.

Once the lanterns are extinguished, they fall back to Earth and can cause suffering and death to animals and birds through ingestion, entanglement and entrapment in the wire frames.