Charities 'popping' mad at city ban on balloons

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A council has come under fire for banning balloons – in case they harm wildlife.

Portsmouth City Council has been convinced by green campaigners that burst balloons can end up killing dolphins, whales, turtles, and seabirds.

The latex is said to block their guts when swallowed, or animals can get tangled up in strings or ribbons.

Now the city council has agreed to stop mass balloon releases taking place on its land, including schools.

Councillor Jason Fazackarley, who is in charge of environmental issues at the council, said: 'I'm not a killjoy – I'm not talking about banning balloons from people's houses, parties, or community halls.

'Balloons may look nice but once they are released into the atmosphere, whoosh, they are gone.

'Then they might choke some innocent turtle to death.

'They think it is a jellyfish and eat it and die horribly and slowly.

'So I will ban mass balloon releases because I think it's right to do so.'

Cllr Fazackarley has dismissed calls for tighter controls on the number and type of balloons released into the sky.

Instead, he will make sure that all organisations which promote events with the council have the balloon ban written into contracts.

But charities which rely on balloon releases to raise money have hit out at the proposed ban.

Helen Somerset-How, co-founder of the Rainbow Centre in Fareham, raised 1,000 by launching balloons for a sensory garden for children with cerebral palsy.

She said: 'The ban will have a serious impact.'