Council set to ban Chinese lanterns

Wigan Council could ban Chinese lanterns from the borough today, saying they pose a safety risk
Wigan Council could ban Chinese lanterns from the borough today, saying they pose a safety risk
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A BAN on fire hazard Chinese lanterns could be approved today by Wigan Town Hall.

The move has been prompted by 10 emergency call-outs in the borough and urged by fire service bosses due to concerns over blazes and the risk posed to animals.

If given the green light by the ruling cabinet, Wigan will join fellow authorities Stockport, central Manchester and Oldham in issuing a ban.

A report to be presented to cabinet members today highlights that 60 emergency 
incidents have been caused by lanterns across Greater Manchester since 2010.

Ten of those occurred in the borough, including a blaze on open land in Hindley near to overhead power cables, an incident in Lowton where a resident required hospital treatment and one fire at a semi-detached property in Pemberton caused by a lantern falling on a roof.

The report states: “It must be noted that any of these incidents could have resulted in a serious fire as evidence suggests lanterns sometimes drift back to land whilst still alight.”

Adding that the lanterns - which are paper balloon type structures that use lighted wax to produce hot air - pose a risk to property, livestock and aviation.

A ban would apply to any land or property owned by the council and could restrict the items being sold.

Cabinet members will also be asked to consider whether to reinforce it with a specific byelaw, using a draft framework issued by the Department For Local Government

Other councils in Greater Manchester to have taken action have not taken the byelaw route as it can be a “costly and lengthy” process, the report adds.

The council has been asked to ban lanterns by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority chair David Acton.

In a letter to each of the region’s 10 local authorities, he said: “Within Greater Manchester, there have been over 60 incidents attributed to sky lanterns in the last five years.

“These have ranged in severity with several causing damage to property including dwellings.

“GMFRA are seeking your support to extend this ban across all 10 Greater Manchester Authorities.”