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Sky Lanterns statement to BBC about the campaign to support the NHS

Night Sky Lanterns®
Published by Admin in News & Press Release · 19 April 2020
Tags: BBCskylanternsstatementcampaignsupportnhsunionjack
Sky Lanterns statement to BBC about the campaign to support the NHS
Q.
Good morning, BBC North West Tonight is running a story today in our TV news bulletins about sky lanterns being released to support the NHS. It is being criticised by our local MP Tim Farron, firefighters, farmers and the Wildlife Trust. Is anyone available for a pre-recorded Skype interview today or to provide a statement. Regards, Kath Broadcast Journalist, BBC NWT.
 
A.
Dear Kath Paddison,
 
Thank you for inviting us to your program.
 
We perfectly understand all concerns raised by fire-fighters, farmers and wildlife organisations.
 
In 2009, we promptly engaged with our NPD team to address those concerns and replaced the metal wire with fiberglass string to minimise the impact on wildlife. Moreover, the wax wick/fuel cell has been improved to reduce the fire risks by using cloth/fabric, which crumbles in air before the lantern start descending.
 
Sky lanterns can only fly for short distance and any company organising large scale sky lanterns events could gain farmers support if they would have picked up the lanterns landed few hundred yards from the point of launch.
 
Furthermore, farmers could benefit from renting the field on which to organise the synchronised launch. Likewise, to overcome the impact on nearby land owners, the organiser could provide a symbolic compensation for every lantern picked by the organiser.
 
The landing place can be easily spotted with the use of drones which can be implemented not only to follow the flying path of the lanterns, but also to supervise the sky during the performance.
 
In regards to the campaign in support of the NHS was never intended as large scale event. As stated by experts of Trading Standards Institute (Code of Practice – Sky Lanterns, 2014) “When used as intended in appropriate conditions and in small numbers, sky lanterns do not constitute a high risk. With a little care and consideration they can be enjoyed safely."
 
I appreciate and value the work of all fire-fighters for facing danger whenever tackling any fire incidents. However, I disagree with the statement from Roy Wilsher, Chair of NFCC, for labelling sky lanterns as fire hazard. I do not have full figures as he does, but from what I heard on BBC news, I would expect that candles, fireworks and BBQs on their own have caused more fires than all lanterns released in the whole world, let alone in the UK. The latest large-scale fire caused by BBQ in UK was reported during last Easter weekend. Fireworks are used every Thursday for #clapfornhs and yet never mentioned on their twitter account and yet he created a scaremongering feel about sky lanterns.
 
I strongly believe that all concerns associated with sky lanterns are related to poorly made sky lanterns. In particular, sky lanterns build with a string made of asbestos, which although is proven to be fireproof, it breaks while the lanterns is half way up and frees the wick while still lit.
 
I feel I have done everything possible to inform local Trading Standards and other Government Authorities but their lack of resources have left genuine sky lanterns companies like mine to persuade people that not all sky lanterns are the same.
 
Finally, I am disappointed that some UK Councils have introduced restrictions to release sky lanterns from Council owned land, where instead they should be the first point of information for members of the public and implementing the Code of Practice.
 
I hope this information is satisfactory to your panel and I would be happy to answer any further question which you/they may have.




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