Farmers say lanterns ‘more dangerous than fireworks’

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WITH harvest fast approaching, farmers are urging people to think twice about releasing Chinese lanterns.

The National Farmers’ Union, Women’s Food and Farming Union and Marine Conservation Society have once more highlighted how sky lanterns can cause major fires and harm or even kill animals.

Their pleas follow a massive fire at a recycling depot in the West Midlands.

John Archer, from the Petersfield branch of the NFU, said: ‘Chinese lanterns really can cause fires on an industrial scale and we’d like to see them banned.

‘Lanterns pose a big fire risk to crops that are ripening in the sun and we’ve had numerous reports of them landing in fields and farmyards.

‘Please don’t release them – valuable food could literally go up in smoke or you could cause a wildfire.’

He added: ‘Although they look attractive, Chinese lanterns can kill or maim farm animals.

‘Cows have died from ingesting the fine wire from lanterns. Lanterns fall into grass crops and the wire gets chopped up when crops are harvested to make animal feed.’

The NFU is logging problems caused by Chinese lanterns and will lobby for a ban.

It remains concerned about the bamboo frames as they are prone to splintering.

Eunice Finney, from the Women’s Food and Farming Union, said lanterns were more dangerous than fireworks.