As part of a wider nationwide initiative, the release of balloons and sky lanterns are set to be banned on Walsall council-owned or maintained grounds.
A new policy, which will be released on the Walsall Council website soon, will also encourage private landowners and event organisers to look at more eco-friendly options , including the planting of trees and digital fireworks as an alternative.
In a meeting held on 7 February, the council said that the releasing of balloons or sky lanterns is often a chosen way to mark an event, commemoration, or celebration. However, while these tributes are carried out with good intent, they can be damaging to the environment and present a fire hazard with ignited lanterns causing potential harm to open spaces and residential areas.
“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,” said Councillor Gary Flint, Portfolio Holder for Wellbeing, Leisure and Public Spaces.
“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.”
160 councils across Britain have now banned the release of balloon and sky lanterns.