Decision details

Report on Sky Lanterns & Helium Balloons

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


County Councillor Bryn Griffiths introduced the report drawing Members’ attention to the discussions on the item at the last Committee meeting as detailed in the Minutes of that meeting at agenda item 2.  He noted the proposal to include helium balloons and confirmed he was happy to have them included.  He also noted the other proposals in the report and the draft recommendations and confirmed his acceptance of those.


The Chair gave other non-committee members the opportunity to address the Committee.  County Councillor Clive Pearson agreed that helium balloons should be included, and welcomed the report and its recommendations.  County Councillor Karin Sedgwick gave her full support but raised concern about the continued release of sky lanterns and helium balloons from non-council owned land.


The issue of enforcement was raised, and it was noted there had not yet been any communication with tenants of North Yorkshire council land on the issue.  It was suggested that in order for a ban to be successful, the problems arising from the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons (as detailed in the report) would need communicating to council tenants and the public in general.


Legal advice was provided confirming there was nothing in existing tenancy agreements that would restrict this type of activity, but for any new tenancies, the legal documents/leases could be revised to include the Council ban.  Schools and Academies could also be encouraged not to release sky lanterns and helium balloons, through the use of legal documentation.


County Councillor Bryn Griffiths suggested some proactive engagement with the public etc would be required as suggested within the report.  He also queried whether social housing providers could also be encouraged to ban the activity from their properties.


County Councillor Annabel Wilkinson agreed the best way forward would be to raise awareness among school children of the issues associated with the activity, both locally and nationally as they were becoming more and more environmentally aware.  It was agreed that a letter to the Secretary of State for Education would be an appropriate way forward in regard to schools, together with the lobbying of local MPs for a national ban.


County Councillor Richard Musgrave agreed that a strong publicity campaign promoting the negative outcomes of the activity was the best way forward, particularly as enforcement would be problematic.


County Councillor Philip Broadbank agreed action was required and suggested that lessons could be learnt from other Authorities who had already introduced a ban.


Other members fully supported the proposal, and County Councillor Liz Collings proposed widening the engagement as much as possible.


Resolved – That the following recommendation be submitted for full Council’s consideration:


The County Council is recommended to adopt and promote the following charter:


‘North Yorkshire County Council has banned the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons on any property and land which North Yorkshire County Council own or lease or have any interest in or control over


We are committed to encouraging businesses, communities, landowners, schools, residential homes and individuals to switch to alternative ways of celebrating and commemorating events.


 North Yorkshire County Council pledges to: -

·            Promote the restriction of the release of all types of helium-filled balloon and sky lantern on property and land owned by the Council. This includes those that are made from bamboo or claim to be biodegradable.

·            Ask all Parish and Town Councils within North Yorkshire to pass a similar motion, to ban the release of sky lanterns on Parish or Town Council land.

·            Incorporate the ban into all future residential tenancy and land lease agreements.

·            Proactively engage with businesses, landowners, schools, residential homes, council tenants, social housing providers, charities and community groups, to raise awareness of safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives that people can celebrate with, through promotion and campaigns.

·            Work with the County’s MPs to ensure that the issue is considered by Parliament.



Publication date: 19/02/2021

Date of decision: 18/01/2021

Decided at meeting: 18/01/2021 - Corporate & Partnerships Overview & Scrutiny Committee

Accompanying Documents: