An outright ban on sky lanterns would be disproportionate
We are thankful to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for reply to our letter about sky lanterns sent to the Prime Minister.
We are also grateful to them for supporting actions which have a constructive approach, aiming at minimizing the risks associated with sky lanterns.
We could not agree more with DEFRA that the impact of sky lanterns is minor and “any actions we take must be proportionate to the level of risk”.
Moreover, we are pleased to reassure all our customers that the Government leniency will not ban future generations to enjoy the magical emotion when releasing a sky lantern.
We fully support, as DEFRA states, that “an outright ban would be disproportionate”.
However, we urge the Government to put emphasis on concerns related to third-party websites, like Amazon and Ebay, selling dangerous goods and promoting poorly made counterfeit products on their platforms.
We have also raised this concern to Trading Standards and the Environmental Agency, showing them all evidences we collected on the huge number of sky lanterns contaminated with asbestos, sold by unscrupulous sellers, via third party websites.
It was very disappointing to acknowledge that these Authorities do not have the resources to tackle online giants.
In regards to the current voluntary regime, we strongly believe that the voluntary Code of Practice for sky lanterns is effective only for reputable suppliers. Meanwhile, criminals have no concerns about the injury they causing, nor they are caring for the damage they are causing to the environment and the whole industry.
In spite of this, regulations on stopping prohibited substances entering our markets, (like asbestos), are in place since 80s, but there are not enough resources to check it all.
We would like to see the Government taking serious steps to better regulate the sell of goods on third party platforms and make them accountable for anything published on their website. Afterall, these third-party websites are making themselves partner in crime, by taking a substantial portion of the product selling price, for every counterfeit and dangerous goods sold via their website.
To conclude, having read DEFRA’s letter, we are appealing to Councils, Authorities and animal welfare organizations to acknowledge the founding of the independent study commissioned by DEFRA and the Welsh Government, published in 2013. Indeed, it is disproportionate that some Councils in UK have banned the use of sky lanterns for events held on Council owned land. We also sincerely hope that many respected organizations like RSPCA, UK Farmer Union and Fire Brigade Authority which are often deeply misguided, to use their exposure power to responsibly inform their audience about the importance of choosing only eco-friendly sky lanterns, made with high quality materials, from reputable suppliers. This is clearly stated in the conclusions of the sky lanterns Code of Practice.
- Letter to Prime Minister - Sky Lanterns (Prohibition) Bill 2017-19: https://www.nightskylanterns.co.uk/blog/index.php?letter-to-prime-minister-sky-lanterns-prohibition-bill-2017-19