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Sky Lanterns statement to The Independent

Night Sky Lanterns®
Published by Admin in News & Press Release · 19 April 2020
Tags: theindipendentskylanternssupportnhsstatement
Sky Lanterns statement to The Independent about the campaign to support NHS
Q.
Hi, I'm a reporter at The Independent. Can I ask - about how many lanterns have you sold for this NHS promotion so far? I've read what you say online about your safety measures and about raising money for the NHS. But could you please respond to criticism from the fire service that such risks are the last thing they need? And what do you say to people who say you should take the advice of farmers and the RSPCA who oppose lanterns? Why not take note of what these authorities say? I have tried calling you but couldn't get a reply. But I need a response if possible please asap, and certainly by 2.30pm as we publish online. I appreciate your help. Thank you. Kind regards, Jane Dalton



A.
Dear Jane Dalton,

Thank you for your email.

I have to say that we have been overwhelmed by the number of messages opposing the connection with the NHS.

In good faith, our intention is to collect the money from the sale of the Union Jack Sky Lanterns and let participants to elect a NHS Charity to donate 100% of the money raised during this unprecedented time. To clarify, for every Union Jack Sky Lantern sold at £6, we will give 80% (£5) to the elected charities and 20% (£1) will go to HMRC in VAT.

While this is our primary intent, we may be forced to change it and donate the money to a different charity.

Either way, we will let people who participate to this fundraising campaign to choose charities to donate this money.

As I am the son of a farmer, I perfectly understand all concerns raised by farmers and wildlife organisations, who would like to see an outright ban on sky lanterns.

Because of this, in 2009, we promptly engaged with our new product development team to address those concerns and we announced premium quality sky lanterns, in particular to minimise the risk of fire in the eventuality that the lantern lands on crops or dry hay.

However, as we are still developing new improved and innovative components to alleviate the impact of sky lanterns on the environment, while a surge of companies took the opportunity to flood the market with poorly made sky lanterns.

Indeed, in 2014 we noticed that numerous companies were promoting poor quality sky lanterns on our product pages published on well-known platforms, and after numerous test purchased, we sent some of those to a lab to be tested for asbestos, which resulted positive.

Therefore, we contacted those third-party websites, as well as UK Environmental Agency, Trading Standards and other government body to raise our concerns, but all went in vain.

In fact, since 2014, with our deepest regret, we stopped the supply of all our products on Amazon, Ebay, and other third-party websites and asked them to remove our brand name from these sites, which this also resulted without success and some company (Sellers) still promoting counterfeits sky lanterns on our brand pages.

All in all, we strongly believe that we are doing everything possible to inform the public and we would like to see wildlife organisation, NFCC and other Farmers Unions to embrace those innovations, which are key to any industry. Generalising does not help people to understand those essential differences and it is creating a surge of confusion, which it tend to persuade people that all sky lanterns are the same, basing their purchasing choice on price rather than quality.

Q.
One point: people are not objecting to raising money for the NHS per se, so switching to raising money for a different cause would be missing the point - surely?

Also, can you give a 100% guarantee that none of your lanterns would ever start a fire? And that none would ever harm an animal if a lantern came down on it, or later if an animal came across the debris?

A.
I appreciate everyone view on this and we can only find the connection with NHS somehow inappropriate for some member of the public.

Rather than that, there nothing wrong with our premium quality sky lanterns or Union Jack which are made with same materials and they take care of all concerns associated with sky lanterns.

“Analogy”
While we can all drive freely, there is a huge difference between diesel and electric engine, however that makes no difference to cyclists or runners who don’t drive at all.

As stated by expert from Trading standard Institute "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."

The cloth wick/fuel cell equipped on those lanterns guarantees that when the combustible runs out, the cloth wick will crumble in air before the lantern lands.  

Likewise, we can guarantee that premium and supreme sky lanterns and other models like the Union Jack are assembled with the best innovative components available at current time.

On the other hand, what is the level of guarantee that a company producing candles can establish that the candle will not spark a fire? Same applies to BBQ or cars, fridges/washing machine/tumble dryer/toaster, etc …

What is the guarantee that a beer producer can give to the public that its customers will not drink driving?

I could continue make endless analogies which would cover any product/service of any industry, including farmers and horse riders.

Even if I am vegetarian I would never point a finger to anyone, as I live and let live everyone according to the individual conscience.

PS. We have never said to use LED tea-lights with sky lanterns, for obvious reasons. LED tea lights do NOT produce any heat which is the basic physic principle to enable the lantern to fly. The reporter must have misinterpreted the use of LED tea-lights with Union Jack Candle Bag, which is another product all together. Indeed, on our webpage we saying “We cannot guarantee that on Sunday the weather conditions will be suitable for releasing sky lanterns and this may be different across the country and you might need to be postpone it to another day. For this reason, we have decided to include with each order a Union Jack Candle Bag made with fireproof paper. However, please consider the possibility of using LED tea-lights to minimize the risk of fire from wax tea-light candles. Furthermore, we have also chosen to donate 100% of the money raised from the sale of Union Jack Candle Bags, published on the following link https://www.nightskylanterns.co.uk/5-union-jack-candle-bags.html"




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