How a ban on releasing sky lanterns and balloons in Doncaster could happen

Councillors have passed a motion which would ban the release of balloons and sky lanterns on Doncaster Council-owned land.

Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 6:39 pm
Memorial balloon launches such as this could be banned on Doncaster council land

The proposal, put forward by Bessacarr and Cantley councillor Majid Khan hopes to stop litter in the shape of latex being eaten by animals, polluting streams and to avert fires when sky lanterns drop from the sky.

The motion follows on the call from many organisations who support a ban which include the Marine Conservation Society, RSPCA, RSPB, BASC and the National Farmers’ Union.

It’s understood that a ban would be enacted on council-owned land and events where the authority holds a licence.

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The motion was said to have been formulated following calls from primary school children across the borough to stop the release of balloons and lanterns.

The practice has grown in popularity and is used as a way to remember a loved one who has died.

The motion received support from his Labour colleagues but Conservative councillor Glenn Bluff took issue with it and produced his own balloon to councillors much to the amusement of many.

Coun Khan dismissed the claims made by Coun Bluff and clarified the council would not be coming round to people’s homes under council-ownership and taking enforcement action.

He urged people to think about how they could remember a loved one in another way without the release of balloons or sky lanterns.

“There’s often little or any thought of where these items end up or the potential damage they could cause.

Doncaster is a large borough with significant arable space and livestock farming. A single sky lantern can cause devastation of crops, property and the potential for loss of life.

“Sky lanterns can take up wheatfields and can cause the death of animals as can balloons. But also, we’re polluting our environment with plastics and other disposable items that are devastating for our climate.

“This is a very plain and straightforward motion, it shouldn’t be contentious at all.”

Coun Bluff said: “I often see bottles and cans but I rarely see balloons or lanterns. This motion quotes no facts, no numbers or how they have managed to assess this.

“No council should be making decisions without evidence or an assessment. Launching these items is usually a deeply religious or spiritual event helping them with grief.

“When will politicians of all parties learn to stop banning things because it’s fashionable?”

The motion passed with 42 voting for it with six abstentions and one no vote.