AUTHORITIES in Wrexham and Flintshire have been consulted about a possible ban on controversial sky lanterns and helium balloons that have been labelled as potentially dangerous.
Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies has written to all local authorities in Wales to encourage them to introduce a voluntary ban on the release of the lanterns and balloons.
In the letter, councils are warned of the dangers posed by the objects to animals and the risk of fire, highlighted by a recent fire at a plastic recycling plant in the West Midlands.
Mr Davies said: “Sky lanterns and helium balloons pose a real danger to livestock, other animals and buildings.
“A recent independent report has found that the fire risk associated with the use of sky lanterns is significant; while we also know that the ingestion of debris from lanterns can kill or seriously harm an animal.
“We want to make people aware of the risks and that is why I have written to local authorities across Wales to encourage them to introduce a voluntary ban on the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons.”
Wrexham Council member for environment, Cllr Bob Dutton said the authority will need to look carefully at the minister’s requests.
He said: “We have had approaches by the public before but never a formal application from National Resources.
“As a council, we’d be very concerned by the condition of livestock once these items are released and if they do pose a fire threat.
“We need to look carefully at the implications. This issue has been raised by members of the public previously and while the council would seek to prevent release of such lanterns and balloons on its own land it is a difficult matter to regulate on a general basis.
“However drawing the problem to the public's attention will certainly ensure all reasonable people comply.”