MP backs calls to ban balloon and Chinsese lantern releases in Hartlepool

Hartlepool Borough Council is set to consult on the use of Chinese lanterns and balloon releases on its land.
Hartlepool Borough Council is set to consult on the use of Chinese lanterns and balloon releases on its land.

The town’s MP is backing calls to ban balloon and Chinese lantern releases in Hartlepool because of their impact on the environment.

Mike Hill says he fully supports the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) which is encouraging local authorities, including Hartlepool, to look at the banning of the releases on council-owned and managed land.

Mike Hill MP in Parliament.

Mike Hill MP in Parliament.

Mr Hill has signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament in the hope that a ban can be brought into law.

It comes after Hartlepool Borough Council agreed to launch a consultation from next month until the end of September, giving residents and charities a chance to air their views in a report about the impact on their use, as well as an awareness campaign about their release on council land.

Mr Hill said: “The release of balloons and Chinese lanterns are spectacular sights, more often than not used to mark special occasions or events, but as the Marine Conservation Society points out they can do damage and have a harmful effect on wildlife and the environment.

“Especially relevant to Hartlepool is the harm they can do to marine animals and our coastal waters.

The release of balloons and Chinese lanterns are spectacular sights... but they can do damage and have a harmful effect on wildlife and the environment

Mike Hill MP

“That is why I am pleased to sign the Early Day Motion which is currently passing through the House on promoting a ban and very much welcome the launch of local consultations by the council on instigating a ban on local authority property and land.”

Regarding Chinese lanterns, Mr Hill said as well as posing a fire risk, charities such as the RNLI say they can also be mistaken for distress flares.

He added: “Coupled with that the fact that both balloons and lanterns are not easily biodegradable and you end up with increased litter, polluted seas and death traps for wildlife.

“Given this it really is good to see the Council taking the initiative on this very important matter.”

The Marine Conservation Society says marine animals, including dolphins, porpoises, whales, turtles and seabirds have been killed by balloons or parts of balloons.

An MCS survey said litter from balloon releases found on UK beaches has tripled in the last 10 years.