Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Sky Lanterns in action - fire at Smethwick

Photo: BBC News
BBC News is carrying a report of the fire at Smethwick in a large store of recycled plastic that is thought to have been ignited by a sky lantern.

The West Midlands may be a bit outside my usual parish, but the point here is that this incident shows that sky lanterns can act as an indiscriminate source of ignition.  On this occasion the fire has occurred in an urban area, it is not 'just' crops or rural lives that have been affected, the incident has occurred in a built-up area close to a centre of population.

Think of the cost of the fire fighting operation, the risk to firefighters and other people in the area, and the disruption that this fire is causing. Can this be justified by the 'wow factor' of sky lanterns drifting into the sky to wreak havoc somewhere downwind?

Although there is a risk of being branded as an 'I told you so' have a look at the blog post from 18 May 2013.

Defra's position is that a ban on sky lanterns is not under consideration.  Can this approach be justified in the light of this incident and the growing body of evidence about the damage that sky lanterns cause?