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Councillors to discuss banning balloon releases

The Council of the Isles of Scilly is to discuss banning the release of balloons, sky lanterns and non-biodegradable streamers on Council land.

A report to go before next Tuesday (September 11th)’s Full Council meeting says that it is important to address the issue as the “materials are not environmentally friendly, can create issues for aircraft and the emergency services and can find their way into the food chain”. They can also cause “serious health issues” for a range of wildlife.

The document, written by Waste & Recycling Officer Rebecca Williams, states that a Council ban would be supporting the islands in gaining Plastic Free Coastline status.

It recommends that the intentional releases of balloons, sky lanterns and non-biodegradable streamers are banned as part of any event on Council land and property and for any Council event held on other land, including the marine environment.

Sky lanterns can travel a considerable distance from the release points at unpredictable heights, becoming a potential risk to aviation through airborne engine ingestion. They may also result in the Coastguard being called out if they are mistaken for flares. Meanwhile, non-biodegradable streamers can create litter and be detrimental to the environment, "including through ingestion by livestock and marine life, so finding their way into the food chain".

Both the Marine Conservation Society and National Farmers Union have promoted a ban on the intentional release of balloons and/or sky lanterns. Many other councils, including Cornwall, already have bans in place.

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust have documented many examples of balloons released on the mainland - and further afield - turning up on the islands.


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