Norfolk County Council launches New Balloon and Lantern Charter
The launch of a new balloon and lantern charter last weekend saw Norfolk go green when it comes to celebrating. Individuals and organisations are being urged to ditch harmful releases of helium balloons and sky lanterns and try new and innovative ways to mark important occasions.
Cllr Andy Grant, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Environment & Waste, said: “We would love people to banish the helium balloon and leave the sky lantern at home as these outdated ways of celebrating are harmful, particularly to animals.
“Please do encourage your organisation or business to sign the charter to pledge not only that there’ll be no sky lantern or helium balloon releases on their land, but also to promote new and sustainable ways to celebrate, such as using giant bubbles and flying kites or streamers.
“Help us showcase all the fantastic ways we can choose to celebrate an important event while respecting the environment at the same time!”
The launch is just the start, as over the coming months Norfolk County Council will be urging businesses, communities, landowners, schools and individuals across the county to sign up to the charter.
The charter is for anyone, whether it’s a large organisation or just one person. Everyone can choose to pledge to use safer and more environmentally friendly ways to celebrate and not allow the release of balloons or lanterns on land they own.
This builds on the bans that are already in place across many areas of the country, including in Norfolk where the county council has not allowed the release of helium balloons or sky lanterns on land it owns since 2015.
There are serious after effects of balloon and lantern releases that many people may never have thought about. Sadly animals can get hurt or die from getting trapped in or eating the remains of lanterns and balloons which can end up as litter in the countryside, on beaches and in the sea.
Sky lanterns are also a fire risk. Figures show that Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has been called to 6 reports of fires caused by sky lanterns since June 2014. Three of the calls related to sky lanterns in trees and in one incident a lantern set alight to 200 square metres of marram grass at Waxham.
Alternatives to balloon and sky lantern releases include using giant bubbles, flying kites, banners and streamers, drumming, and tree planting.
Click here to find out more, and download the charter pledge poster to display at your home, organisation or business.