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Policy for the release of sky lanterns or balloons on Council owned land

The Council is one of the largest land owners in the County Borough and is fortunate to be home to many parks, gardens and recreational areas. We recognise that activities within our green open spaces can have a significant impact on the local environment.

There is evidence of the harmful impacts of sky lantern or balloon litter to the environment and wildlife, in particular within the marine environment. Sky lanterns are also known to cause damage to farming and buildings.

The release of sky lanterns or balloons is viewed as littering under the Environmental Protection Act (1990), which makes it an offence to deposit litter in public places. It is the responsibility of this Council to ensure that public green open spaces remain free from litter and as such, the Council is fulfilling its statutory duties through the development of this policy. It would be against the spirit of the Act if the Council  allowed activities on its land which had the effect of littering adjoining lands or the marine environment or causing personal injury.

In implementing this policy, this Council will:

  • Refuse permission for any sky lantern or balloon release from any Council owned, and controlled, land regardless of the purpose(s) for the release.
  • Refuse a street trading consent to any person wishing to sell sky lanterns within the County Borough.
  • Refuse a permit for any street vendor wishing to sell sky lanterns at the Neath September Fair.
  • Require Council ‘Standard Conditions of Contract’ relating to outdoor events and organised displays on Council owned land / controlled green space to ban the release of any sky lantern or balloon, regardless of purpose.
  • Consider the potential to instigate enforcement proceedings against any person responsible for creating litter by releasing or allowing the release of sky lanterns or balloons.

This policy includes all flying lanterns or balloons, including those that are biodegradable.

There are a number of alternatives to balloon releases and these will be promoted should there be any requests to the Council to allow a balloon release event. These include virtual balloon releases, balloon sculptures or indoor ‘pop a balloon’ events. For memorial events, candle lighting or bubble blowing have proven to be popular as an alternative.

This policy will be monitored over the course of its lifetime and will be reviewed in light of other Council policies and changing legislation as required