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Bill-026 - Antoinette Sandbach AM - Sky Lanterns (Wales) Bill

Pre-ballot Information

A Member must provide ‘pre-ballot information’ to set out the intended purpose of their proposed Bill before it is entered into the Presiding Officer's ballot. This information is set out below.

Policy Objectives of the Bill

The objective of the Sky Lanterns (Wales) Bill 2011 would be to restrict the use of sky lanterns within Wales to safeguard public safety and animal welfare.

The use of sky lanterns is growing in popularity. Typically set off at New Year and at other celebrations, the lanterns can be airborne for up to 20 minutes and can travel considerable distances.

During flight sky lanterns can cause disruption to air traffic and can be mistaken for marine distress flares. Sky lanterns have also been responsible for fire damage to residential and business properties as well as arable crops. Wire framed sky lanterns also pose a significant risk to farm animal welfare, due to the ingestion of metal fragments.


North Wales Fire & Rescue Service

“Once these lanterns are released into the air there is no control of where they go and they can travel a significant distance. The fuel cells in the lanterns have embers that can fall from the lantern and these embers can carry on glowing for a number of minutes even after the flame has gone out and the lantern has landed.”

Mid and West Wales Fire & Rescue Service

“If a smouldering lantern was to land on dry farmland this could lead to a grass or mountain fire and spread across a large area of land. Grass and mountain fires are dangerous and unpredictable, and can quickly spread out of control. Firefighters battle against them under arduous conditions, with fires spread across difficult and sometimes inaccessible terrain.”

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

“These Chinese or Lucky Lanterns can give people five minutes of fun, but to the RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews they can mean a night time search, or until the Coastguard can confirm that they are not distress flares. This can use up valuable time if a lifeboat crew is required for a real emergency somewhere else.”

Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales

“We are receiving an increasing number of reports from farmers, the farming unions and others of the damage that Chinese lanterns are causing. The reports include harm to livestock, and in some instances death, caused by cattle ingesting the metal wires contained within the lantern frames.”

Civil Aviation Authority

“…sky lanterns have the potential of causing damage to engines through ingestion. Additionally, debris from sky lanterns dropping to the ground could produce Foreign Object Debris (FOD), which could cause damage to aircraft should any remnants land on the manoeuvring areas of an airfield. The risk to aviation is increased when such activities take place in the vicinity of aerodromes, particularly during those critical phases of flight associated with taking off and landing.”

Farming Union of Wales

“We are backing a ban on Chinese Lanterns, they have safety risks, they are let off with no control. There’s a high risk of fire, they can damage farmland and there’s also livestock issues, with things like wire getting in cows’ stomachs.”

National Farmers Union

“Bought for as little as £2.40 these lanterns can cause severe damage to crops and farm land. It is not only the small flame which burns inside the lantern to create the glowing effect that is considered dangerous, the metal wire frame which a fuel cell is hosted inside can also cause damage. It could wreck machinery or be chopped up and get into animal feed - if digested by an animal it could cause significant injuries.”


Relevant stakeholders have been contacted regarding the proposed Member’s Bill, and their responses will be included in due course.

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