We've joined forces with farming, environment, animal and fire organisations to call for a national ban of sky lanterns as part of a long-running campaign to ground them for good.
Since May, more than 76,000 members of the public have signed our petition calling on the government to follow the lead of hundreds of local councils and introduce an outright ban.
We will soon be to writing to the new ministers at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to stress the importance of taking urgent action, but for now our next target is to secure 100,000 names calling for a total ban of these floating fires.
Every year up to 200,000 sky lanterns are released in the UK and farmers continue to report the threat they are posing to their farm businesses.
These floating flames are highly dangerous and can start wildfires, kill livestock, destroy crops and set homes and buildings alight.
Germany, Austria and Brazil are among the countries that have already implemented a total ban.
“I urge farmers and growers to add their name and help ground sky lanterns for good.”
NFU Vice President David Exwood
Campaigning nationally and locally
Following NFU campaigning which mobilised thousands of members of the public to email their council, 187 councils out of 333 across England and Wales have voluntarily banned sky lanterns. But this only covers the land they own.
Now the NFU has launched a petition so that NFU members, farmers and the public can show their support for a total ban in England and Wales.
It follows a letter to Environment Minister Rebecca Pow that detailed how other countries considered the release of sky lanterns to be an environmental crime due to the harm they cause animals, habitats and the countryside.
Real danger to farms
NFU Vice President David Exwood said: "Sky lanterns continue to be a real danger to many of us living and working in the countryside. They can cause serious injury to livestock if they are eaten, particularly with so many calves and lambs in the fields in the spring and summer months.
NFCC (National Fire Chiefs Council) wildfire lead Paul Hedley said: “The NFCC does not advocate the use of sky lanterns under any circumstances, at any time. We have seen devastating fires caused by these lanterns, as well as posing a risk to wildlife and property.
“Fires caused by a sky lantern are likely to be complex and large-scale incidents, putting huge pressure on fire services. Just one sky lantern fire could cause untold damage, while posing a threat to lives.”
Our campaigning work on sky lanterns so far
Labour MP Ruth George introduces Ten Minute Rule Bill to prohibit the use of sky lanterns in England. It did not progress.
NFU launches campaign to urge people to email their council to ban sky lanterns on land it owns. To date 174 councils out of 333 have banned them in England and Wales.
Coalition of organisations writes to Rebecca Pow MP, Under Secretary of State for Defra, calling for a national ban.
Coalition meets Jo Churchill MP, Environment Minister for Defra. She commits to commission research on the risks of sky lanterns and disposable barbecues.
NFU launches petition calling for a total ban of sky lanterns in England and Wales.
Our petition reaches more than 50,000 signatures as members of the public call on the government to follow the lead of 185 local councils and introduce a ban.
We wrote to Environment Minister Trudy Harrison MP to ask for a national ban on sky lanterns. In a positive step forward, Defra has now commissioned further research into sky lanterns and their impact to clarify the case for a total ban. NFU members – read the letter in full.