Union Pays Thanks to Councillors for Acting on Sky Lanterns

Sky LanternNFUS calls on 17 councils still to put a ban in place to take action

Following lobbying by NFU Scotland since October, seven local authorities have now banned the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons on their land.

However, there is still much work to do yet, as 17 councils have yet to take action.

Ahead of bonfire night last year, the Union wrote to all of Scotland’s councillors of those local authorities which did not have bans in place, to call on them to help provide our farms, crofts and countryside.

Councils who have banned sky lanterns and balloons since the Union’s correspondence are: Inverclyde Council, Argyll and Bute Council, Fife Council, East Lothian Council, West Lothian Council and Dundee with Edinburgh City Council currently putting measures in place.

They join Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Falkirk, Highland, Perth and Kinross and Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, which have already banned the release of sky lanterns and/or helium balloons.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick, commented: “Thank you to all those who have taken this issue forward with their local authorities to action bans, however we need those who have yet to take action to take this forward to make our countryside a safer place for animals and people.

“Sky lanterns are seemingly innocent devices, and are beautiful to look at, but they can cause untold damage as there is no control over where these burning structures of paper, metal and wood decide to land.

“Across the UK, there have been many reports now of fires started by lanterns and harm to the health of livestock when lanterns have landed in farmers’ fields and been eaten. There is a further risk to stock when grass is cut and ensiled for winter feed, and the wire is chopped up and subsequently contained in hay or silage.

“We applaud the action already taken against sky lanterns by seven Scottish local authorities and we urge other councils to take their responsibilities as seriously. We also ask members of the public to avoid the use of lanterns and to understand the risks that these can pose.

“We would encourage members to write to their local representative to encourage them to take this forward on their behalf, and a template letter is available to help them to do this easily.

“We look forward to hearing from those who have not yet actioned a ban on what they plan to do in future.”

Notes to Editors

  • If their council has yet to put a ban in place, NFU Scotland members are encouraged to contact their local councillors to call for a ban on the use of sky lanterns. A template letter calling for action can be obtained by emailing

Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108

Author: Ruth McClean

Date Published:

News Article No.: 35/17

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About The Author

Ruth McClean

Having worked in the communications and journalism industry for the last 11 years, NFU Scotland’s Communications Manager Ruth McClean understands the needs of journalists and has extensive knowledge of the wider agricultural industry. After growing up in Argyll and Bute and working in the area as a reporter for local newspapers for eight years, Ruth joined NFU Scotland in 2013 in her current role. She is also Editor of the Union’s membership magazine the Scottish Farming Leader.

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