RENEWED CALLS for a national ban on sky lanterns have been issued ahead of celebrations for the Chinese New Year

The English National Farmers Union and The British Horse Society are behind the appeal, following figures that show lanterns are still causing the deaths of horses and livestock as well as posing a real fire risk.

Both organisations have joined forces to call for all councils to follow the lead of 170 local authorities who have already banned sky lanterns.

Despite the dangers, around 200,000 sky lanterns continue to be sold every year with thousands potentially being lit and released to mark Chinese New Year. With no way of controlling where they land, their wire-frames have the potential to injure or kill grazing animals.

ENFU deputy president Stuart Roberts said: “It is deeply frustrating that, despite knowing the dangers sky lanterns pose to livestock and horses and their potential for causing fires in fields and homes, some councils have still not banned them from being released.

“Currently there is no national legislation which specifically regulates sky lanterns and although many councils have used their powers to ban sky lanterns on council property, it simply isn’t enough," he continued. “I would urge the government to recognise the danger these lanterns pose and introduce a national ban as soon as possible.”