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Cumbrian MP renews call for ban on Chinese Lanterns

A Cumbrian MP is renewing his call on the Government to look again at banning or regulating the use of Chinese Lanterns.

Tim Farron MP photo
Tim Farron

The move comes after one of the sky lanterns was caught on CCTV drifting into a recycling centre before sparking a massive blaze which injured nine firefighters and destroyed 50,000 tonnes of paper and plastic. At the height of the blaze, in Smethwick near Birmingham, there were 200 firefighters on site and damage has been estimated at £6m.

Tim Farron, the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, has been campaigning against their use due to the concerns raised by farmers. He added: “There’s been a lot of concern in rural areas and the farming community about the impact on livestock and crops for many years and now we have an incident like this in an urban area. I think the evidence does point to a ban.”

Following the blaze, Vijith Randeniya, chief fire officer of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service, said it was time that “sensible people have a sensible discussion” about the issue.

And Craig Drinkeld, Carlisle’s station manager, said: “We have been to a number of fires over the past few years that have been started by Chinese lanterns – either by getting snagged in trees or onto grassland. They can be potentially dangerous.”

Cumbria’s Chief Fire Officer Dominic Harrison said: “We support West Midlands Fire Service’s call for a review of legislation regarding the use of fire lanterns.

“As we’ve seen this week, these lanterns can pose a real hazard as once they’re launched there’s no way of controlling the direction they take and there’s no guarantee the fuel will be fully extinguished and cooled when the lantern finally lands.

“I’d also encourage community leaders and members of the public to discourage the use of the lanterns on the basis that they present a fire danger.”

Alan Dickinson, the county chairman of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), said: “The NFU has called for them to be banned for a long time. They are more dangerous than fireworks.”

Have your say

The should be banned. About 3 months ago I observed something odd out of the window of our house and opened the front door to look and the lantern nearly came into the house and the paper had caught fire.

Whilst the chances of this happening are remote the incidents of these lanterns setting fields on fire I expect are common place.

Posted by Bob on 4 July 2013 at 23:04

Strange....the Hastings MP is saying the same thing!

Posted by south coast man on 4 July 2013 at 19:28

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