POLL: Do you agree with Norfolk CLA chief who wants sky lanterns to be banned
As ministers call for stricter controls over the use of sky lanterns, the Country Land and Business Association wants them banned.
Farming minister Jim Paice has written to the British Hospitality Association, asking it to advise its membership of hotels, restaurants and other venues to ask them to discourage their customers from using the lanterns.
But land managers say the dangers are so high that only a ban will be sufficient protection.
'We are of course delighted that Mr Paice has understood the problem and made this move,' says CLA East regional director Nicola Currie.
'But sadly that depends upon everyone acting responsibly and there is no guarantee that they will. When revellers are having a good time they may not necessarily pause to think whether or not conditions and locations are suitable.
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'We don't want to spoil anybody's party but we do have to try to protect the countryside and crops from fire – and animals from a very painful death.'
Mr Paice's letter comes as the region's crops and wildlife habitats, parched and dry because of months of drought, have become extremely vulnerable to fire. 'Though there has been some rain, there has been nowhere near enough and it would take very little to set them aflame,' says Mrs Currie. 'Yields are going to be low anyway and we cannot afford to lose vital food production, especially when it can be avoided.
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'Neither can we afford to lose precious natural habitats and the wildlife it contains.'
CLA East is also worried over the danger to livestock posed by the lanterns' frames.
Some may well be caught up in bales of hay and silage and could inadvertently be swallowed by cattle. Frames lying seemingly innocuously in pasture are also a threat because cattle - ever-curious – will lick and chew them, with disastrous results.
'I am sure that party-goers would understand the need to ban when they realise what the consequences of their fun could be,' says Mrs Currie.
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