The Country Land Association has called for a ban on skylanterns, or Chinese lanterns, to cut the risk of livestock deaths and fires.
Earlier this week a major fire at a factory in Smethwick led to the destruction of 50,000 tonnes of recycling material, West Midlands Fire Service believe a Chinese lantern could have been the cause. CLA President Harry Cotterell said:
The concept of launching a flaming bonfire into the night sky with absolutely no idea of where it will land has always seemed reckless and bizarre. It is clear that skylanterns represent a wholly unnecessary risk to property, woodland, crops, moorland and livestock. Many millions of pounds of damage has been caused by fires started by skylanterns. Worse still, 11 firefighters were hurt by the recent blaze at a Midland plastics recycling plant which was ignited by a skylantern.
Even when skylanterns don't start fires, we have had reports from our members that cattle have died after ingesting the metal frames. Cows have been put down as a result. There is no doubt that a ban is in the public interest.
Northamptonshire's Arson Task Force is warning local residents about floating lanterns following the fire at a Smethwick recycling plant.
Around 50,000 tonnes of plastic recycling material and a factory is on fire in Smethwick.