To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on regulating the use of Chinese lanterns in order to protect livestock on farms; and if she will make a statement.
We share farmers' concern about the potential risks of sky lanterns (also known as Chinese lanterns). We are continuing to work with other Departments and the agricultural industry to address them.
Our current approach is to raise public awareness of the potential dangers posed by sky lanterns (and to focus on voluntary action with the aim of influencing consumer behaviour). I wrote to the British Hospitality Association in the summer to advise its membership of hotels, restaurants and other venues of the problems they cause, principally the harm to livestock and litter and to ask that they discourage customers from using these lanterns. DEFRA also issued a press release earlier this month for bonfire night to warn people of the harm sky lanterns can cause.
We are also pursuing other voluntary options and working closely with the National Farmers Union and the Women's Farming Union as they gather the evidence necessary to justify any potential future ban. These two organisations are doing a sterling job in raising awareness of the risks posed by sky lanterns and urging support for local farmers.
In parallel, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills is raising the issue with the Commission and exploring the views of other member states.