Merthyr is set to become the only area in Wales where a council-ban on the release of sky lanterns is not in force.
RSPCA Cymru has long campaigned for a ban on the release of sky lanterns, which can have deadly consequences for pets, farm animals and wildlife.
Sky lanterns – which are lifted into the air via an open flame heat source – can be ingested by animals, or cause entanglement or entrapment. This can lead to unsuspecting animals suffering injury, stress or even death. When ingested, sharp parts of the device can tear and puncture an animal’s throat or stomach causing internal bleeding.
Lanterns also pose danger as a fire hazard – destroying habitats, and potentially setting animal housing, feed and bedding alight. Marine life is also endangered by lanterns falling into the sea.
Nearly all local authorities in Wales have introduced local bans on their release on council-land, and the charity says all 22 areas supporting this measure would make a “vital statement” about the dangers of sky lanterns.
It has now been revealed that Flintshire Council will be considering a report on sky lanterns at their December cabinet meeting. Council leader Cllr Aaron Shotton has tweeted that he “will be supporting the @RSPCACymru campaign”, and has shared the hashtag #NoFlyZone – which would make Flintshire the 21st council in Wales to take action.
The RSPCA’s ultimate aim remains an outright ban across Wales – but supporters can act online and urge Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council to join the list of local authorities to have banned the devices from being released on their land.
Paul Smith, RSPCA Cymru Public Affairs Manager, said: “It’s been heartening to see the number of local authorities banning the release of sky lanterns on their land increase significantly in recent weeks.
“Wrexham, Newport and Swansea are all recent additions to the #NoFlyZone across Wales – and we’re delighted to hear that Flintshire are set to discuss the issue at their cabinet meeting in December, and that the Council’s leader has voiced support for our campaign.
“Put simply, sky lanterns can have fatal consequences for animals, and are a major hazard – for public safety and animal welfare. Locally-led bans on council land make a vital statement about their dangers, and are an important way to spread the message about the risk lanterns pose.
“We now need to see action from Merthyr Council, who are set to become the only local authority in Wales not to have acted on these deadly devices. We hope they will soon follow their neighbouring councils and act, in the interests of animals and their welfare.”
If you wish to help RSPCA Cymru look into incidences such as this, you can donate online. The RSPCA is a charity and rely on public donations.