Balloons and floating lanterns to be banned from Ipswich parks
PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 August 2019
(C) Archant Norfolk 2013
Use of balloons and Chinese floating lanterns look set to be banned in Ipswich parks in a bid to ease environmental concerns.
Ipswich Borough Council's executive committee has been recommended to ban the use and sale of them in all its parks to reduce the impact on livestock, wildlife and the environment.
If approved, it will also be added to the council's byelaws so that park staff can enforce it.
Phil Smart, the council's portfolio holder for environment and climate change, said: "It is something that is being adopted by quite a few councils and it is also something the council does get lobbying on from time to time.
"This is something we did consider many years ago and the balance of feeling at the time was that kids enjoyed playing with balloons.
"But there is a greater awareness now of environmental issues, and most families with youngsters would take the view that people would rather grow up knowing their environment has been considered."
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The council's report said it had previously turned down requests to release balloons or sky lanterns, but to date was not enshrined in policy.
Floating lanterns are considered a hazard to wildlife, with instances elsewhere in the country of animals ingesting them and causing choking and internal injuries.
Other issues have been animals becoming entangled in the wires, fires caused from the lanterns which utilise an open flame to float, and the UK Coastguard responding to false alarms when lanterns were mistaken for distress flares.
The report also drew attention to an incident in Billericay, Essex, last year when around 50 balloons became entangled in overhead train lines.
It is understood that key organisations such as the fire service, RSPCA and farming and conservation unions all back similar bans elsewhere.
Mr Smart added: "Balloons and sky lanterns tend to drift a long, long way from where they are released into areas where wildlife predominates.
"The council have to set an example in this regard and hopefully it is one of those things that leads to change."
The proposals follow the council's decision to declare a climate emergency this summer, with environmental impacts set to become a stronger consideration in policies going forward.