Walsall Council to stop balloon and sky lantern releases for the sake of the environment
Walsall Council will implement a new policy which bans the release of balloons and sky lanterns, in a move towards protecting the environment and ensuring residents safety.
This forward-thinking measure comes as a response to the potential harm caused to wildlife, public spaces, and the increasing issue of single-use plastic pollution nationally, and in the borough of Walsall.
While releasing balloons or sky lanterns may be seen as a beautiful way to mark special occasions, their consequences go beyond the initial spectacle.
Animals often mistake balloon remnants for food or become entangled in them, leading to injury and even death.
The plastic waste generated from releases is contributing to the growing problem of single-use plastics, and ignited lanterns pose fire hazard risks, endangering open spaces and residential areas.
More than 160 local authorities across England have already banned balloon and sky lantern releases, and the council intends to join the mission to promote eco-friendly celebrations.
The proposed policy, which will apply to land owned and maintained by the council, including the adopted highway, aims to discourage the use of balloons and sky lanterns at events hosted or held on the Walsall Council estate.
The new policy will actively encourage private landowners and event organisers to explore alternative options to mark important occasions, such as bubbles, kites, digital fireworks, candles in jam jars, planting trees or flowers, and memorial walks.
“ Our priority is to create a cleaner, greener borough, where nature is respected and protected, and our parks and open spaces support the health and wellbeing of our residents and visitors.
This ban may have some small impacts upon third-party events which intend to generate income, but the council feels that the benefits of safeguarding our environment and preserving the natural beauty of our borough far outweigh the costs.
As a council, we recognise the cultural significance and emotional value that balloon and lantern releases hold for various communities. To address this, accessible and affordable alternatives such as memorial walks, candles in jam jars, and community tree planting initiatives will be promoted, ensuring that diverse groups can continue to express themselves in environmentally friendly ways. “
The council intends to publicise the new policy on the Walsall Council website soon and will ensure that anyone wishing to hold an outdoor event on council land is made aware of the policy through the application process.