The new code, created after meetings between industry members and DEFRA, aims to provide guidance for manufacturers and users of paper lanterns, which have become increasingly popular in the UK as a way to celebrate special occasions.
Sky lanterns are criticised for causing fires, creating litter, harming wildlife and even posing a risk to aviation. Many retailers have stopped selling the lanterns and some farming organisations and wildlife charities have asked for an all-out ban on their use.
The new guidelines include age checks on potential buyers and requirements on the size and biodegradable design of the lanterns. They should not be lit by anyone under the influence of alcohol, near farmland or within 10 miles of an airfield.
George Eustice, the minister for farming, said of the new guidelines: “This new industry code of practice will help assure that sky lanterns are manufactured to be safe, biodegradable and sold responsibly. Over the last year Defra has highlighted the risks [of paper lanterns], and a number of retailers have decided to stop selling them, while some local authorities and event organisers have banned sky lanterns altogether.”