RSPCA Cymru has given BBC Radio One a big thumbs up for including sky lanterns on a list of prohibited items for this weekend’s ‘Biggest Weekend’ in Swansea.
The charity regularly warns members of the public as to the dangers which sky lanterns can pose to animals – notably wildlife.
Balloons are also included on the list of items not permitted at the event; something the RSPCA says will prevent helium balloon releases which, too, pose risk to animals.
The RSPCA spearheaded the campaign urging local authorities to ban the release of sky lanterns on their land in Wales, and recently celebrated success with this step now taken by each of Wales’ 22 councils.
Sky, or ‘Chinese’, lanterns can be popular with music festival go-ers, but the charity says they can have a “devastating impact” on animal welfare.
The lanterns can be ingested by animals, or cause entanglement or entrapment. This can lead to wildlife, pets or farm animals suffering injury, stress or even death. When ingested the sharp parts of sky lanterns can tear and puncture an animal’s throat or stomach causing internal bleeding.
Singleton Park is Swansea Council land – and RSPCA Cymru has welcomed Radio One reminding attendees not to bring potentially-fatal sky lanterns to the event.
Mass helium balloon releases, too, can have grave impacts on animals and the environment – so including balloons on the list of prohibited items at the festival avoids this risk.
Llewelyn Lowen, RSPCA wildlife expert, said: “This is really positive news for animals in the local area.
“It was a cause for celebration recently when Wales’ council land became a no-fly zone for dangerous sky lanterns – so it’s great news to see Radio One reminding attendees of the Biggest Weekend not to bring them along.
“It’s such a big event for the city of Swansea; so it’s a great way to again highlight to the public as to the dangers of sky lanterns. These devices can have deadly consequences and a devastating impact for pets, farm and – perhaps most pertinently – wild animals.
“Releasing helium balloons, or deflated balloon litter, also poses a risk to animals – so it’s welcome also that Radio One are urging Biggest Weekend go-ers not to bring these along either.
“Crucially, what goes up must come down. The RSPCA will continue to flag up the animal welfare dangers associated with sky lanterns and balloon releases, and encourage the take-up instead of safe and viable alternatives.
“We want to see people enjoying events like Swansea’s Biggest Weekend, while acting to keep themselves and animals safe.”
The festival takes place on Saturday (May 26) and Sunday (May 27), with Florence + the Machine and Sam Smith headlining. Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and George Ezra are among the other acts due to appear at the sky lantern-free event.