Bobbing cheerfully on rivers and streams, the humble plastic duck has provided hours of fun for generations of Cumbrian children.

The mass-produced aquatic birds have also helped raise thousands of pounds for good causes through charity races, one of the most celebrated of which is held in Cockermouth.

But eco-friendly Allerdale council has now declared war on these bright yellow bath companions, voting to ban them from any council-owned waterways.

The original motion from councillor Paul Scott called only on the prohibition of helium balloons and Chinese lanterns amid fears over safety and animal welfare.

But a successful amendment from the former environment portfolio-holder Michael Heaslip added plastic ducks to the list of prohibited items.

Coun Heaslip warned that plastic ducks and “similar materials” released in the watercourses could “damage wildlife and the environment and may end up as plastic litter.”

However, he moved to assure members that he had “no problem with duck races” per se, only with the use of those made from plastic.

He suggested that children might instead use birds made from paper or wood or from another non-harmful material.

“It is important that we take care of our environment,” he said.

Under the plans agreed this week, the “intentional release” of lanterns and helium balloons – and now plastic ducks – will be prohibited at events licensed, sponsored or supported by the council or held on any of their land or buildings.

Members also considered a proposal for a ban of fireworks containing plastic raised by Coun Allan Daniels.

But it was defeated after Iain Greaney pointed out that this would be tantamount to an outright ban because “all fireworks contain plastic”.

Coun Alan Smith said it would be difficult to enforce the motion, but coun Scott suggested it could be achieved by a “review of existing policies”.

Asked what had sparked the original motion, Mr Scott said his partner’s horses has been spooked by sky lanterns and “seriously hurt” as a result.

The council also called on the Government to launch a nationwide ban and will actively encourage organisations, clubs, schools and tenants to “look for environmentally safe alternatives”.

The meeting heard that sky lanterns pose “dangerous fire hazards”. which can have “devastating consequences” for people, buildings and animals.

Coun Scott added that helium balloons can entangle animals, create a choking hazard and “end up as litter”.