Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Light Pollution?

This is a very beautifully filmed advert – and has probably added to the popularity of launching Chinese Lanterns here in the UK

But I am not sure it is altogether appropriate for us Brits.

I don’t want to be a member of the killjoy Elf’n’Saty Police, but recent news items suggest these lanterns are lovely to watch, but they can cause much damage.

Last Monday, the BBC Website suggested they can pose a real danger to livestock, with many stories of cattle dying having chewed the remains of lanterns which has drifted to earth.

Pat Stanley, who breeds pedigree cattle near Coalville, Leicestershire, told BBC Radio 4's Farming Today she had found lanterns in her fields. She said: "They may be very pretty, but they're incredibly dangerous and I would like to see them banned.They're made of a hoop of bamboo, which in itself is a very sharp piece of wood when it's broken, and then there's a crosspiece of wire. If we silage-make in any of these fields, this is all going to be chopped to pieces if we don't see it and find it. That's going to go into my silage clamp and next year I'm going to have dead cows."

She added: "If you went fly-tipping rubbish in the countryside and somebody caught you doing it, you could be prosecuted. People can launch this rubbish into the air, it can cause tremendous damage and nobody knows where it's come from."

The RNLI says it has seen a large increase in the number of rescue teams and lifeboats being called out to false alarms, because decorative Chinese lanterns are being mistaken for distress flares.

The fire service says floating sky lanterns used at outdoor celebrations can be a "substantial fire risk".


And now my local airport, East Midlands, has said there is a danger to aircraft. Austria and Germany have banned the lanterns but there are no restrictions in force in Britain, although the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued guidelines on their use

East Midlands Airport has warned against launching Chinese lanterns beneath its flight paths, claiming they could get sucked into plane engines. The tissue paper lanterns can float up to a mile into the air once lit and are often constructed with metal wire.

Russell Craig from East Midlands Airport said: "We don't want to be the fun police but you have to manage risk."We are not calling for them to be banned but if you live on the flight path just think twice before you let off the Chinese lanterns

Is there a bright spark out there who can come up with a happy solution to this problem?


  1. I'm guilty to say that we had them at our wedding, they were beutiful and a cheap alterntive to fireworks plus the little kiddies could draw love hearts over them. However we did stop when the wind changed and one went a bit to close to the clock tower. I do hope the the bamboo hoops didn't cause any trouble

  2. No solution, but I agree with all you say.I ahd heard that they can be a danger to small aircraft.

  3. I too have heard this.I felt a bit of a kill joy when at chuch a friend was telling me that last weekend they all let off some of those lovely lanterns and my dughter piped up"oh the ones that kill cows?"

  4. Mattman was given one to send up on Christmas Eve- guie the reindeer idea. But when we read the small print we discovered that you can't let them off inside a certain air space- City Airport other side of Lough, nor within 2 miles of open water/shipping route- Lough is 1 mile away! It wouldn't work anyway!

  5. Angela,
    This is such an interesting post. Not only all these things you listed make this a dangerous thing to do but the idea that setting them free will bring prosperity... I am now following along with you - so looking forward to future posts!
    Thanks so much for the info on the St. Nicholas Church! It is beautiful!


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