West Norfolk Council votes for balloon release ban

West Norfolk Council's offices
West Norfolk Council's offices
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“It’s time we took responsibility for our environment.”

That was the message as council chiefs in West Norfolk imposed a ban on balloon and sky lantern releases on their lands.

The measure, passed at a meeting of the authority’s cabinet last night, also includes the provision of a code of conduct for councillors and staff not to support similar events.

Research by the Marine Conservation Society suggests the amount of balloon waste found on British beaches has trebled in the last 20 years.

And Sandra Squire, the deputy cabinet member for environment, said the borough’s proximity to the Wash, an internationally recognised area for wildlife, emphasised the importance of the move.

She said: “Balloons floating in water look like squid to animals looking for food, block the stomach and the animals starve to death slowly.

“Approximately 40 councils and entire countries have banned these items and I think it’s our turn to take responsibility for our environment.”

She added that a sky lantern had been responsible for a field blaze in North Norfolk at the weekend.

Council leader Brian Long said he hoped the decision would encourage other landowners to follow suit.