Sky lanterns and mass balloon releases could be banned in Norwich

Sky lanterns can no longer be launched from land or properties owned by Norwich City Council. Pictu

Sky lanterns can no longer be launched from land or properties owned by Norwich City Council. Picture: Chiang Ying-ying. - Credit: AP

A ban could be on the horizon for sky lanterns and mass balloon releases in Norwich.

At a meeting next week, members of Norwich City Council's cabinet will decide whether to prohibit the lanterns, with officers recommending the proposal for approval.

If approved, a ban will be placed on releasing either the lanterns or balloons on mass on any council-owned land.

It comes just over a month after Green Party councillor Denise Carlo tabled a question at a full council meeting over the matter.

Her question, directed at Kevin Maguire, the city councillor's cabinet member for safe city environment, asked whether a ban could be introduced immediately - amid fears fires could be sparked by the lanterns during the hot spell.

However, in his response, Mr Maguire indicated action was not required at the time as the matter would be debated in September.

Ms Carlo has since welcomed the report, but said something should have been done sooner.

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She said: 'I think this should have been done earlier, given how the hot the summer has been.

'I think the ban will help in the future and overall I am in support of the proposals, but it could have been done sooner.'

Ms Carlo, who is leader of the city council's Green group, also said she felt more should be done to raise awareness of the hazards posed by lanterns and mass balloon releases.

She added: 'I think we should go further with the move and educate people more about the impact these things have on the environment.

'People should particularly be made aware about balloons - pieces of them end up everywhere, including in the River Wensum.'

In his response to Ms Carlo's question at the meeting in July, Mr Maguire set out reasons for the proposed ban.

He said: 'Sky lanterns and balloons not only pose a fire risk but are also a significant threat to wildlife and livestock from ingestion and entanglement through the panic they cause.

'They are also a potential source of litter and waste in our environment.'

The cabinet will decide on the proposal on Wednesday, September 12.