Published: December 29, 2010
Chinese lanterns warning for Burnham-On-Sea New Year revellers

A Berrow farmer has urged residents in Burnham-On-Sea not to let off Chinese lanterns during this weekend's New Year festivities after six of the burning objects landed within a few metres of her hay barn this week.

Wendy Welland, from Faircott Farm, told the lanterns which came down on Christmas Night could easily have caused a fire and threatened 22 horses in stables nearby.

"The lanterns came from the Burnham direction and could so easily have set our hay and barn alight and threatened the horses. I would urge residents not to let them off over the New Year," she said.

"They pose a big risk not only to crops and buildings, but the wire frames often break up in the air and can get into animal feed."

She added: "It's ridiculous that some shops in Burnham are selling them for just 99p each - it shouldn't be allowed."

"The lanterns might look lovely for a short time, but the consequences can be serious and are completely out of the control of the buyer. If I'd had a fire here, I would have tried to trace the owner and sued them."

Wendy says she is keen for the UK to follow several other countries around the world in banning the lanterns.

"I feel strongly that they should be banned. China, Australia and Germany have already outlawed them, so we should consider it too."

Due to the risk of the burning lanterns being mistaken for emergency flares, HM Coastguard must be informed before they are launched.

Our photo shows horse owner Martine Hazleton holding one of the charred Chinese lanterns which landed at the Berrow farm


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