19/12/2014 - Permalink

Warning about purchase of Chinese lanterns over Christmas

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Shropshire Council’s public protection team is warning local traders and consumers to be cautious of purchasing Chinese lanterns from car boot sales and Internet sellers in the run up to Christmas.

The products, which are known by a variety of names including sky lanterns, fire lanterns and Chinese flying glowing lanterns, are small hot air balloons made of paper, with an opening at the bottom where a small fire is suspended on a base framework containing an ignition source. They are intended to be launched into free flight, rising by the enclosed hot air.

The products are covered by an industry Code of Practice which is intended as guidance on good practice for those designing, manufacturing, distributing, retailing or using sky lanterns. These products have given rise to a number of safety concerns including the risk of injuries to livestock, animals and humans, and hazards to property and the environment from fire and pollution.

In a recent check on retailers in Shropshire, public protection officers found the products on sale at only three stores, all of whom took advice on the Code and, in one case, removed a product from sale following officers’ advice.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for public protection, said;

“We have had good co-operation from our known retailers, who either have stopped stocking these products or have taken our advice in respect of the Code. The concern would be that with supplies of these products being carefully controlled at these businesses, there could be attempts to sell by mobile or Internet traders where the likelihood of products not complying with the Code could be much higher.”

Traders and consumers who want advice and guidance on purchasing and/or using these products should contact the prevention and early intervention team within public protection via 0345 678 9000.