Councillors to consider ban on Chinese lantern and balloon releases

December 13, 2012 3 Comments »

A motion to stop balloons and lanterns being released on council land will be considered at the full meeting of Cardiff Council today.

Balloons and sky lanterns should be banned from being released outdoors in parts of the capital, councillors have claimed.

A motion from a Rumney councillor has called on Cardiff Council to prevent balloons and sky lanterns being released on council-owned or controlled land.

Helium balloons and sky lanterns, also known as Chinese lanterns, are often released into the air at celebrations, commemorations and charity events across the city.

But campaigners say their release outdoors causes harm to wildlife and the environment.

The motion proposing a ban on lantern and balloon releases has been proposed by Councillor Bob Derbyshire and supported by Ely councillor Susan Goddard. Coun Goddard said: “I feel very strongly that this is a dangerous practice and the helium is needed much more for medical use than in these silly balloons.

“The animals that eat these things die the most horrible deaths. It’s just not environmentally friendly for a few moments of pleasure for some adults.”

Balloons were released in October by pupils at Michaelston Community College, Ely, in memory of tragic hit-and-run victim Karina Menzies.

One of the balloons travelled 600 miles and was found in a tiny village in Germany, carrying a message from two schoolgirls. Geraint Rees, executive head of Glyn Derw and Michaelston Federation, said the commemorative event provided “support for both students and staff”.

But he said he would support any decision the council would make on the outdoor release or balloons and lanterns.

He said: “We will try to find other ways of commemorating incidents and celebrating. I don’t think we would want to put things into the sky if it would cause harm.”

Keep Wales Tidy has previously called on the Welsh Government to ban balloon and Chinese lantern releases across Wales.

A spokeswoman for the environmental charity said: “Keep Wales Tidy supports a widespread ban on the release of balloons and lanterns.

“Thirty town and community councils and several schools across Wales have signed a Keep Wales Tidy pledge agreeing that they will think of alternative ways to mark occasions and it is hoped more will do the same.”

The motion will be considered by councillors at a full meeting of the council this afternoon from 4.30pm.

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3 Comments

  1. brian davies December 13, 2012 at 11:08 am - Reply

    the environment needs to be protected but if they should be spending time helping the homeless and protecting vulnerable people

  2. Twm December 14, 2012 at 12:46 am - Reply

    Cllr Goddard thinks the helium is needed "much more for medical use". Really?
    Is there a shortage of helium for medical use in Cardiff due to the number of balloon releases? Is this silly demand for helium placing pressure on health services that is being ignored by every authority other than Cllr Goddard?

  3. Andy Mabbett February 16, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Balloon releases are harmful to the environment, to wildlife and to domestic animals, as I outline in this article:
    http://birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=1490

    Even biodegradable balloons can last – and do harm – for a year or more.

    Organisations who oppose balloon releases include the Marine Conservation Society, the RSPB, the RSPCA, the National Farmers' Union, the Shark Trust, the Tidy Britain Group, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Scottish Natural Heritage, Tidy Wales, Tidy Northern Ireland, Clean Cornwall, county bird clubs, various Wildlife Trusts, the Bumblebee Trust, The Soil Association, The Waterways Trust, The British Legion, The Terence Higgins Trust, The Alzheimer's Society, and others, plus several councils and companies including Sainsbury's, Aviva, TGI Fridays, M&S and Barclays. The Guinness Book of World Records no longer recognize balloon release records "precisely because of environmental concerns".

    And yes, there is an imminent global shortage of helium.

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