RELEASING sky lanterns and helium balloons from BCP Council-owned land or at events it licenses could be banned.

At Tuesday’s meeting of its full council, council leader Vikki Slade will put forward a motion calling for the move following increasing calls for the practises to be stopped.

She said in light of the bushfires in Australia and a fire at a German zoo caused by sky lanterns, it was time to “put an end” to their use.

“Personally, I have had more correspondence on this than almost anything else,” she said. “There are lots of other ways to celebrate special occasions – their use is completely unnecessary.”

In April 2016 a discarded sky lantern started a fire at Hartland Moor nature reserve near Wareham.

And a fire that killed dozens of animals at Krefeld zoo in Germany at the beginning of the year is suspected to have been started by falling lanterns.

They have also been found to have been ingested by marine animals.

Bans on their release are supported by a number of national organisations, including the Marine Conservation Society, the RSPB and the National Farmers’ Union.

They have raised concerns about the impact they can have on livestock and marine animals which may mistake them for food.

The motion, which will be seconded by councillor Rachel Maidment, will:

  • Seek to ban the use of helium-filled balloons and sky lanterns from council-owned land
  • Ban their use at any event licensed by the council
  • Ask the council to “consider” providing information outlining alternative ways to commemorate events

“Following the public outcry about plastic in our oceans and the recent climate and ecological emergencies declared not just here but across hundreds of councils and other organisations, now is the time to put an end to this unnecessary activity,” the motion says.

The ban is one of the ideas listed in the council’s report on ways it will look to tackle the climate and ecological emergency it declared last year.

It will be considered at Tuesday’s meeting.

A separate motion calling on the sale of real fur products to be banned from markets on council land will also be put forward by Cllrs Maidment and Slade at the meeting.

Cllr Slade said she was concerned that there had been a resurgence in the material and that now was "a good opportunity" to stop it.