Call to celebrate greener this year

29 December 2021

As we go into 2022 people are being urged to have a fresh look at how they can celebrate, and mark important occasions, in a way that protects the environment and local wildlife.

Two years after the successful launch of Norfolk County Council’s sky lanterns and balloon release charter, even more people are being urged to ditch balloon and sky lantern releases for better alternatives.

The pledge is already supported by 179 individuals, schools, community groups and businesses across the county.

Cllr Andy Grant, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste, said: “It’s wonderful that so many people have already pledged to try new and innovative ways to celebrate rather than by releasing balloons or sky lanterns. Sadly even though these may look pretty for a few moments, the after effects can be devastating.

“We banned balloon and sky lantern releases on our land in 2015 as not only are sky lanterns an uncontrolled floating fire risk, evidence has shown that animals can get hurt or die from getting trapped in or eating the remains of lanterns and balloons, which can end up as litter in the countryside, and on our beautiful beaches.”

Alternatives to balloon and sky lantern releases can include:

  • Using giant bubbles
  • Flying kites
  • Hanging banners and streamers
  • Drumming
  • Tree planting

Norfolk resident Tracy Brighten is one of the existing supporters of the campaign and loves the idea of planting a native tree to mark an important occasion. Tracy said: “While I've never released balloons or sky lanterns, I think planting a UK native tree would be a fitting alternative. Planting trees not only helps tackle climate change via carbon storage and reduce flooding from soil erosion, but trees also provide much-needed shelter and food for insects, birds and small mammals. Not to mention their contribution to soil health, insect life and fungi food when their leaves fall and decay.

“When I'm out walking in the countryside or on the beach, I pick up balloons to prevent wildlife injury and illness and take them home to dispose of safely. How wonderful it would be to return home empty-handed and know that somewhere native trees have been planted instead!”

To find out more, or to join the campaign and get free resources for your home, organisation or business visit: www.norfolk.gov.uk/balloonsandskylanterns

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