A LAWYER from Bournemouth is at the forefront of a national campaign calling for a ban on Chinese lanterns.

The National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) is calling for a complete ban on sky lanterns branding them dangerous to the public, livestock and buildings.

Philip Day, from Bournemouth, who is vice chair and legal advisor of NOEA, said the organisation is seeking a parliamentary debate in the hope of bringing about a change in the law.

“Fortunately there hasn’t been a fatality yet but it’s only a matter of time,” he said.

“They are very pretty and very attractive but we think the risk of them is unacceptable. If you are on Bournemouth seafront and you have got a nice wind blowing offshore it’s highly unlikely it’s going to land on a boat or yacht, it’s most likely to end up in the sea, but you have got to think about these things particularly in rural areas.”

Mr Day of Horsey Lightly Fynn, added: “It’s only a matter of time before someone gets sued for releasing one of these lanterns.

“As so many are sent off by private individuals at events like wedding receptions and birthday parties, it is unlikely that any insurance policy they might have would cover them for such a claim.”

Launched at the Royal Bath and West agricultural show at the weekend the campaign is now being rolled out nationally.

Susan Tanner, NOEA’s chief executive said: “In essence balls of fire are being sent into the air uncontrolled and unmonitored causing damage to animals and property.

“Ultimately there is a risk to human life; we have already seen firefighters injured while tackling a blaze caused by a lantern.”

Richard Limb, NOEA’s president, added: “They may not set something on fire but little bits of wire may end up in silage and the consequences for livestock can be dire.

“We are asking people to follow a voluntary ban while we gather the evidence to support an outright ban; at the moment much of the evidence is anecdotal.”