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Concerns grow over sky lanterns

Thai lanterns
The lanterns have been mistaken for distress flares at sea

There should be stricter controls over the use of Chinese sky lanterns, claims a Jersey politician.

The large lanterns are lit up and set off at outdoor parties and weddings.

But there are fears about the environmental impact, the potential for lanterns to be confused with distress flares and their risk as a fire hazard.

Constable Dan Murphy is investigating whether their release can be controlled under Jersey air navigation laws linked to the airport.

The wicks on the lanterns are lit and the hot air sends them into the sky.

It's like throwing a naked flame into the air
Constable Dan Murphy

Angela Mitchell, a dairy farmer, wants them banned.

She said: "On Bonfire Night I went outside and noticed a lot of lights up in the sky.

"The next day when I was checking on my animals I found all the remains of these lanterns littered over the farm.

"These are quite dangerous, they could go into our hay barn, or they could land on a cow.

Trevor Le Roux, the island's chief trading standards officer, told BBC Jersey: "The situation is that we don't have any legislation to try and ban the sale of these products.

"The nearest we would get would be with our consumer safety law, but at point of sale these Chinese lanterns are safe.

"They have instructions and comply with the legislation."

Constable Murphy said: "Apparently there have been quite a lot of ground fires this summer, which could have been caused by these lanterns coming in to land.

"It's like throwing a naked flame into the air.

"We don't want to be killjoys, but at the same time we can't have people being distressed."



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SEE ALSO
Sky lanterns mistaken for flares
13 Aug 09 |  Jersey

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