Countryside Alliance has issued a plea for the public to avoid lighting sky lanterns to show support for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.
The organisation says sky lanterns are ‘dangerous’ and ‘a menace’ for farmers and landowners who frequently report “sheep, cattle and horses being injured or even dying from eating the wire metal frames of the lanterns”.
It also suggests sky lanterns are a serious source of litter in the countryside and can pose a major threat to the environment.
Sarah Lee, Head of Policy of the Countryside Alliance, said: “Right now, we are all thinking up ways to support our amazing National Health Service. Sky lanterns are often marketed as being fun ways of marking an event but in reality, they are incredibly dangerous to wildlife and people.
“Once you set off a lantern and have that minute of joy watching it go up into the night’s sky, you lose track of it and have no control over where it ends up. Far too often, animals choke on the debris that lands in fields and fires are started. It is especially hazardous in the hotter and dryer months.”