Birmingham Councillors To Lobby Gov To Outlaw Sky Lanterns

23-07-13(1)PICBirmingham City Council is set to take a stance against Chinese sky lanterns, demanding they are banned after claiming they are responsible for the “West Midland’s largest-ever blaze”. 

Birmingham City Council’s public protection committee will lobby two Government departments to outlaw the products.

The council says that the lanterns were responsible for causing £6m worth of damage after one floated into a recycling plant in Smethwick in June this year.

More than 200 firefighters battled the flames in what was described as the biggest fire the region has ever seen.

Environmental groups had already called for a ban. The Government, however, said that an outright ban was disproportionate.

Birmingham City council is now set to increase the pressure on both the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Defra.

A report to the committee, which meets on Wednesday, says that there are currently no specific regulations covering quality standards or restricting the sale and use of Chinese lanterns.

Head of Trading Standards Sajeela Naseer said: “Trading Standards is continuing to meet with the fire service with a view to supporting their call for the banning of use of sky lanterns.”

She added that there is strong evidence the lanterns are not only a fire hazard but also waste police time as they are frequently mistaken for UFOs, aircraft or distress flares.

As well as lobbying Government, the council should also consider a ban on people launching lanterns from council-owned land including public parks, Naseer added.

Read More

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