Farmer’s plea to rethink the use of Chinese Lanterns

Local farmers, John and Deborah Emmett, who farm land between Lanhay and Percuil, have asked Roseland Online to make locals aware of the dangers of the use of Chinese lanterns for their farmland and livestock. As part of a NFU (National Union of Farmers) awareness campaign, Deborah contacted Roseland Online to make locals aware of incidents this year on their land as they are worried for their use over the Halloween and firework night period.

Deborah told us: “Earlier in the year a ‘cloud’ of Chinese lanterns came over from the Rosevine direction. They all seemed to come down in the same area on our farm, which is permanent grazing land for cattle. Despite John picking up as many as he could, we did lose a calf a couple of months later. The vet suspected the wire in its stomach was the reason for the animal’s demise (this could have been one that had been chopped up in silage grass the previous year).”

Although aware of the attraction of using them, local farmers are trying to make residents and also wedding organisers aware of the dangers of these items on their livelihood and ask they they pass the message on to their clients. Deborah went on to add: “They have also caused at least one fire when landing in a dry cereal crop, but not on our farm thank goodness.”

NFU Government affairs adviser Nick von Westenholz said: “Halloween and Bonfire Night can be fun events for all the family and we hope everyone will enjoy them safely and responsibly. We hope, however, that people will refrain from using Chinese lanterns or releasing them into the countryside as part of celebrations. Even though the fire risk is reduced at this time of year, lanterns continue to pose a risk to livestock, either to those still out in their fields, or at a later date when fallen lanterns go undetected. They also pose a huge litter nuisance, and dozens of these large, unsightly objects are often found spread over a wide area of countryside the day after a local celebration or party.”

Dear Roseland Online:”Following the article (above) regarding wish lanterns I would like to express my support.  All our wedding enquiries and those that are booked for 2011 and 2012 are advised that we do not recommend the use of wish lanterns for the safety of local livestock”. Tim Brocklebank The Rosevine

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