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Stackyard News May 2010

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Rural Threat from Chinese Lanterns

Rural economy experts, the CLA are calling for tighter controls over the construction and use of Chinese Lanterns as the wedding season gets into full swing.

Chinese lantern

The wire framed lanterns – which lift into the air with a lighted candle inside them – have become a popular addition to wedding festivities but the CLA says people need to understand the threat they pose to livestock and to standing crops.

The problem is that the paper lanterns burn out leaving the wire frames to fall to earth. Sales of the lanterns are reported to have reached 100,000 last year and the CLA says this represents an immense potential for damage.

“At this time of year we are approaching silage and hay making time – if the wire frames from these lanterns get into livestock feed it would pose a threat to animals and could cause them serious injury or death,” said CLA Regional Director, Dorothy Fairburn.

Miss Fairburn also said the fire risk to standing crops of corn and to hay and straw barns was also very worrying.

“Chinese lanterns may be romantic and may look very pretty, but people who propose to celebrate their marriage by sending them off into the sky should understand the potential fire and animal health threat they are releasing. We think this is a genuine health and safety issue.

Biodegradable frames have been suggested as an alternative to wire – but whatever manufacturers do they cannot eliminate the fire risk and that, in itself, surely poses sufficient threat to justify banning the use of these lanterns,” she added.

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