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Campaign to light sky lanterns is labelled as "total madness" by PCC

  • Last Updated: 15-04-2020 at 14:04

A CAMPAIGN to encourage people to light sky lanterns to support the NHS has been labelled as “total madness” by the county’s police and crime commissioner.

UK firm Night Sky Lanterns encouraging people to set off its £6 Union Jack Lanterns on Sunday night – claiming all proceeds would be donated to the NHS.

But the idea has been criticized by organisations across the UK.

And Lincolnshire PCC Marc Jones has warned county residents that releasing lanterns poses a serious risk and he is now renewing his calls for lanterns to be banned.

“I can’t say this strongly enough. Please, please, please don’t buy or use these hideous things,” he said.

“Think about it, setting light to something and releasing it is total madness. These things can cause fires, pose a serious danger to property and wildlife and can injure or kill farm animals.

“If you want to spend money supporting the NHS there are plenty of better ways to do that.”

Three councils in Lincolnshire have already banned the use of lanterns on their land – South Kesteven, Lincoln City and West Lindsey – and Mr Jones is writing to all county MPs asking them to support a total ban.

The NFU and the National Fire Chiefs Council have already warned the public not to support the campaign and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service has also issued public warnings.

Matt King, the integrated risk manager, said: “Lanterns are a fire hazard, pose a risk to livestock, agriculture, thatched properties and hazardous material sites.

“All emergency services are currently under increased pressure due to COVID-19.

“We believe the suggestion that people should set off highly flammable lanterns should be highly discouraged and we are asking the public to look for alternative ways to show their support for our fantastic NHS colleagues.”

AN NFU spokesperson said: “Although this initiative may be well-intentioned and aims to raise money for the NHS, sky lanterns pose a serious fire risk and a danger to animals who may ingest the debris.

“The NFU has campaigned against their use as we have heard from dozens of farmers over many years about the gruesome injuries sky lanterns have caused to their livestock and other animals, as well as devastating fire damage on farm to hay, straw and farm buildings.”