Government joins NFCC in urging people not to light sky lanterns

The National Fire Chiefs Council has once again reiterated its warning urging people not to light sky lanterns to show solidarity for NHS workers – and the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs has backed its call.

NFCC Chair Roy Wilsher said: “I fully understand people wanting to show their support to the NHS. However, please find a different way to do this.

“Across the UK, we have seen widespread support encouraging people not to take part. I now urge the company involved to pay attention to the reaction from the public, fire services and NFCC - and stop this campaign.

“NFCC does not advocate the use of sky lanterns under any circumstances. This kind of activity could quite easily put additional pressure on the fire service – and further strain on the NHS.

A fire caused by a sky lantern causes a fire is likely to result in a complex and large-scale incident. This is time which could be spent supporting vulnerable people in the community and carrying out other activities, to support the response to COVID-19.”

Backing the call, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We all want to do our bit to show our appreciation for the NHS and frontline workers, but please stay safe and consider one of the many other ways of showing support.

“Sky lanterns pose a danger to our precious environment and wildlife and can place a greater strain on our frontline services and key workers at this challenging time.”

Lanterns are a fire hazard; pose a risk to livestock, agriculture, thatched properties and hazardous material sites. Almost 90 local authorities across the UK have banned the use of lanterns.

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