RSPCA Cymru is calling on the last two councils in Wales to ban the use of sky lanterns on their land.
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and Flintshire County Council are the only two councils who have yet to bring in a ban.
RSPCA Cymru has long highlighted the dangers associated with the use of sky lanterns, and promotes the use of harmless alternatives which prevent injury, suffering and fatality of animals.
Sky lanterns – often known as Chinese lanterns – can harm wildlife, livestock and other animals by causing injuries that lead to suffering and a slow painful death.
In October 2013 the Welsh Government wrote to Local Authorities encouraging them to introduce a voluntary ban and, following a campaign by RSPCA Cymru, 20 of 22 Local Authorities have now banned the release of sky lanterns from their land.
RSPCA Cymru’s public affairs manager, Paul Smith, said: “Sky lanterns pose clear danger to animals. They may look pretty – but they’re also pretty dangerous. Sadly, many people forget that, if they release a lantern or helium balloon, they have no control over where it lands, or the damage it can do which can include suffocation, entrapment and fire.
“With Newport, Ynys Mon and Wrexham confirming bans in the past month we are now calling on the
final two councils, Merthyr and Flintshire, to take steps to ban the use of these dangerous sky lanterns from their land and join the other 20 councils in doing the right thing.
“Our ultimate aim is for the Welsh Government is to impose an outright ban across Wales.”
There is a sky lanterns advice page available here. Balloons can also cause harm to animals. Ingesting balloons and lantern frames can cause death by blocking the digestive and/or respiratory tracts, and is likely to be slow. This has been documented in marine turtles, dolphins, whales and farm animals.
To urge Merthyr and Flintshire to do their bit to make Wales a no-fly zone please visit, https://www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/skylanterns/