RSPCA Cymru has welcomed the news that the Vale of Glamorgan Council has banned the release of sky lanterns from all council land with immediate effect.

The ban – which also applies to events organised by third parties which are held on council property – means that the Vale of Glamorgan is the SEVENTH local authority in Wales to act against the use of sky lanterns.

RSPCA Cymru has long highlighted the dangers associated with the use of sky lanterns, and continues to call on the Welsh Government to implement an outright ban on their use across Wales.

In October 2013 the Welsh Government wrote to local authorities encouraging them to introduce a voluntary ban, and now seven out of the 22 have done so.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council follows Cardiff, Caerphilly, Carmarthenshire, Conwy, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire, who have already introduced a ban to use sky lanterns on their land.

Sky lanterns (also known as Chinese lanterns) can harm wildlife, livestock and other animals by causing injuries that lead to suffering and a slow painful death. RSPCA Cymru strongly advises against their use and recommends that harmless alternatives are sought to prevent injury, suffering and fatality of animals.

RSPCA Cymru’s Public Affairs Manager, Chris O’Brien, said: “This is great news for local wildlife, livestock and other animals.

“We’re delighted to work closely with Vale of Glamorgan Council in the interests of animal welfare, and welcome that they have taken this important step – meaning almost a third of local authorities in Wales have acted against the use of sky lanterns.

“RSPCA Cymru will continue to campaign in the hope the 15 local authorities in Wales yet to take action follow the steps taken in the Vale of Glamorgan.

“Whilst an outright ban remains RSPCA Cymru’s objective, local authorities can deliver a powerful statement to their local community and beyond by implementing voluntary bans on the land which they control.”

Councillor Neil Moore, Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “As well as posing a significant fire hazard and being a form of litter, the lanterns pose a real danger to pets, wild animals and livestock that may ingest the remains after they fall to ground. It is for these reasons that I am very happy to announce that we have taken the decision to ban the use of sky lanterns on all council land.”

Before Christmas and New Year, RSPCA Cymru issued a reminder to residents of the dangers associated with the use of sky lanterns.

Sadly, despite our advice, scores of sky lanterns were released over the New Year period. In the absence of a total ban, RSPCA Cymru continues to urge the public not to release them on private land.

To support RSPCA Cymru’s campaign and to urge your local council to ban the use of sky lanterns on council land visit http://www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/skylanterns

Animals can also eat balloons and choke or become impacted. A factsheet on balloon releases is available on our website here. There is also a sky lanterns advice page available here.

If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (text costs £3 + one standard network rate message). We are a charity and rely on public donations to exist.