Reply to Mr Sam Durham Chief National Farmers Union - Sky Lanterns

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Reply to Mr Sam Durham Chief National Farmers Union - Sky Lanterns

Night Sky Lanterns®
Published by Fabio Paduanelli in News & Press Release · Thursday 16 Apr 2020
Tags: SamDurhamChiefNationalFarmersUnionSkyLanterns
Reply to Mr Sam Durham Chief National Farmers Union - Sky Lanterns
Message from Mr Sam Durham Chief National Farmers Union:
Good afternoon With ref. to your “Support UK NHS with Union Jack Sky Lantern while #StayAtHome” campaign. The National Farmers Union has heard from a number of our members who are concerned about the impact of this initiative. Although this initiative may be well-intentioned and aims to raise money for the NHS, sky lanterns pose a serious fire risk and a danger to animals who may ingest the debris. The NFU has campaigned against their use as we have heard from dozens of farmers over many years about the gruesome injuries sky lanterns have caused to their livestock and other animals, as well as devastating fire damage on farm to hay, straw and farm buildings. They also land as unnecessary litter wherever they fall. We are also concerned about the heightened and unnecessary strain this will cause our already stretched emergency services who need to focus on the national response to the coronavirus outbreak. The National Fire Chiefs Council has echoed these concerns and also discouraged the public from setting off sky lanterns due to the risk they pose to animals and property wherever they are used. Over 100 councils have banned sky lanterns, recognising the danger they pose. The NFU would like to see a total ban of sky lanterns across England and Wales to safeguard property and animals We would be happy to discuss further Kind regards Sam Durham Chief Land Management Adviser


Dear Mr Sam Durham,

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 was 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. This fundraising campaign has now been stopped.

While this is our primary intent, we have decided to change it and donate the money to different charities, directly selected by the contributors. To clarify, for every Union Jack Sky Lantern sold at £6, 80% (£5) goes to the elected charities and 20% (£1) to HMRC in VAT.

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 and wildlife lover, 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.

Asbestos is used to make the string fireproof, and the major issue with asbestos string is not only that it is highly contaminant, but we also noticed that the major issue with the asbestos string is that when the lantern is half way up it breaks and frees the wick/fuel cell, letting it to drop to the ground while still lit.

Therefore, we immediately contacted those third-party websites, as well as UK Environmental Agency, Trading Standards and other Government bodies 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 companies (Sellers) still promoting counterfeits sky lanterns on our brand pages published on those platforms.

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 to believe that all sky lanterns are the same, basing their purchasing choice on price rather than quality.

Many thanks for your understanding.

Night Sky Lanterns®
Fabio Paduanelli

PS. Everything mentioned above and much more is available for scrutiny and I would be happy to show it to anyone interested to know more.

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