With the New Year fast approaching, the council is reminding people that the lanterns are banned on all council land and property in light of the risk they pose to livestock.
A special clause has been inserted into all new leases and licences preventing the use of the lanterns. This applies to all county council property, including county farms and country parks.
And Staffordshire County Council’s Animal Health Team has reiterated warnings that wire parts from lantern debris can be eaten by farm animals and other wildlife, causing death or serious injury.
Sky lanterns are made of paper and consist of a candle or a fuel cell filled with paraffin wax suspended inside a frame of wire or bamboo. When lit, they float gently upwards and drift away, landing when the fuel has run out. They can reach up to 3,000ft in height and drift for several miles in the breeze, landing anywhere.
As well as being harmful to animals, the use of sky lanterns has also been criticised as a potential fire risk. Once released, is no control of where and when they will land and how long they stay alight for.
County Councillor Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for the Environment said:
“The use of sky lanterns is popular around New Year, but many people aren’t aware of the risks they pose to property and the misery they can cause to wildlife and farm animals.
“As well as being harmful to animals, the use of sky lanterns has also been criticised as a potential fire risk. Once released, is no control of where and when they will land and how long they stay alight for. They do look pretty, but when the debris lands on flammable material, or is eaten by wildlife and livestock, it can cause real problems.
“There are lanterns with bamboo hoops available which are labelled “100% biodegradable but even these can still take time to biodegrade. Our animal health team have also seen items labelled as “100%” biodegradable” which still contain metal parts. These are being inaccurately described, and I would ask people to contact our Trading Standards team if they come across them.”