Protect our wildlife – please don’t release balloons and sky lanternsPublished Wednesday, 1st July 2020
With summer here and birds and animals flourishing along the Hartlepool coast, people are once again being warned of the dangers to wildlife from releasing balloons and sky lanterns.
Since December 2018, Hartlepool Borough Council has banned the release of balloons and sky lanterns from land it owns and manages.
The ban followed a lengthy public consultation which showed that there was overwhelming support (94.5%) for a prohibition amid concern over the environmental impact of such releases.
People are instead encouraged to use much more nature-friendly forms of commemoration, such as Council-organised tree planting.
Councillor John Tennant, Chair of the Council's Neighbourhood Services Committee, said: “With the summer bringing a proliferation of wildlife along the Hartlepool coast, including pods of dolphins offshore and the Little Terns nesting on Seaton Carew beach, it’s timely to remind people of the harm caused by balloon and lantern releases.
“While some balloons burst, others gradually deflate, leaving behind latex and ribbons. When animals ingest the latex it can block their digestive tracts, effectively starving them to death. In some cases, the animals also become entangled in the balloons and their ribbons, leaving them unable to move or eat.
“Sky lanterns can also be mistaken for distress flares over water, resulting in false alarms involving both the Coastguard and the RNLI.
“No balloon and sky lantern releases are permitted from Council-owned or managed land, but I would also encourage people in Hartlepool to please not release balloons and lanterns from anywhere at all, to help protect the environment and keep our wildlife safe.
“Balloon and lantern releases have sometimes been used as a means of commemoration or celebration, but there are far safer, more environmentally-friendly alternatives, including tree planting and memorial benches – which can be arranged through the Council – or flower releases on water, bubble releases or candlelit vigils.”
Anyone wishing to plant a commemorative tree or organise a memorial bench should contact the Council on 01429 266522 or email email@example.com