Merthyr Tydfil has become the final local authority in Wales to approve a voluntary ban on the release of sky lanterns.

The council voted unanimously to ban the release of both sky lanterns and balloons from Council owned land and property.

Keep Wales Tidy and RSPCA Cymru have long been concerned about the potential harm to animals and the environment.

Once released, sky lanterns (also known as Chinese lanterns) can travel for miles and have been known to entangle livestock and wildlife, or even kill them when the debris is mistaken for food. They also pose a fire risk and can be confused with distress flares.

RSPCA campaigns assistant Charlie Skinner said:

This has been long-fought and tireless campaign, and we’re delighted that Merthyr Council’s action means all 22 local authorities across the country have acted on the real danger posed by sky lanterns.

Council land in Wales is now a no-fly zone for sky lanterns.

These devices can have deadly consequences for companion, farm and wild animals; and it’s a huge step forward for animal welfare that these restrictions now exist in all corners of our nation.

Jemma Bere, Policy and Research Manager for Keep Wales Tidy said:

We’re delighted that every local authority in Wales has recognised the dangers of sky lanterns and introduced bans voluntarily.

But there is more work to do if Wales is to become the first airborne litter free nation in the UK. At Keep Wales Tidy we also consider the intentional release of balloons as a form of littering, and the impact can be just as far-reaching and long-lasting as sky lanterns.

Surveys by Keep Wales Tidy and the Marine Conservation Society show that balloons are regularly found littering Welsh streets and beaches. To date, almost half of Wales’ local authorities have introduced voluntary bans on the release of balloons, and Keep Wales Tidy is urging other councils to follow suit.

Jemma added:

We hope that raising awareness of the impacts of ‘litter from the air’ will help people make more informed decisions. We’re encouraging anyone who is looking to mark a special occasion to consider alternative, safe activities which don’t pose risks to animals and the environment.

For more information, read our Litter from the Air paper

Visit the MCS Don’t Let Go webpage to pledge your support for a ban of balloons in your area.

Link is https://www.mcsuk.org/campaigns/dont-let-go