Neath Port Talbot Council have approved an amendment to the existing Sky Lantern Policy, to include a ban on the planned release of balloons from Council land. We are extremely pleased to have taken this step, as the negative impact of balloons and sky lanterns on wildlife, in particular marine life, is well documented.
There are reports that dolphins, turtles, seabirds, even whales have all been killed by balloons, either through ingestion of the balloon in mistake for prey species such as jellyfish, or through entanglement with the string. The ban includes biodegradable balloons, as balloons cannot degrade quickly enough to not prove a hazard for wildlife.
We understand that there may be different reasons that people may wish to take part in organised balloon release events, however there are other activities that can be undertaken. These include virtual balloon releases, balloon sculptures or indoor ‘pop a balloon’ events, whilst for memorial events, candle lighting or bubble blowing have proven to be popular as an alternative. We would urge members of the public to consider these alternatives, which will avoid causing unnecessary harm to our wildlife.
The Council’s stance on this issue is in support of the Marine Conservation Society’s ‘Don’t Let Go Campaign’, alongside a growing number of other Councils throughout Wales and the rest of the UK. We hope this move by Neath Port Talbot Council will help to raise awareness of the issue and will encourage other Councils to take a similar approach.