As a means of avoiding environmental damage, the council have decided to put a stop to the deliberate release of balloons and sky lanterns.
South Lanarkshire Council have introduced a prohibition on the intentional release of sky lanterns and balloons into the sky for fear of the environmental damage they cause.
Members of SLC’s executive committee approved the new policy which stops the release of these objects into the sky from land or property owned by the council, or from events that it has licensed or supported.
This change follows increasing evidence that they are harmful to the environment, and can be a risk to people, property, and animals.
With the potential to spark fires, sky lanterns are a hazard which can cause injury to people and animals.
Leftover parts from balloons can fall anywhere, and it is estimated the latex takes around six months to degrade – even longer in water.
South Lanarkshire Council leader John Ross said:
“Balloon releases and sky lanterns may seem like a fun way to add a bit of extra magic to a celebration but with the combination of pollution, littering and harm to people, animals and property we have a responsibility to introduce these controls.
“South Lanarkshire is not unique in this. More than 70 UK councils and numerous authorities in other countries have already introduced similar bans.”
However, concerns were raised by East Kilbride South Labour councillor Fiona Dryburgh over the use of balloons and lanterns in memory of those who have died.
“I acknowledge the environmental issue but how sensitively will this be handled when it come to people dealing with a bereavement and funerals?
“I have been to the Chinese cemetery where sky lanterns are traditionally released and at services for babies or gatherings to commemorate someone, helium balloons can often be released.
“I wouldn’t like to be the one to tell a bereaved person no, they couldn’t do that.”
A council officer said there would be a publicity campaign encouraging alternative methods of commemoration, such as tree planting.
The ban on sky lantern and balloon releases will from now on be included in park and building management rules, and all letting agreements and licenses.
The policy relates only to the intentional release of sky lanterns, the mass release of balloons, and the release of helium balloons, but individual balloons and tethered balloon decorations are still permitted.
- by Alison Kealy
- sources: The Daily Record, East Kilbride news