10 June 2018
A Green councillor will seek to protect the notable heathland wildlife of Mousehold Heath at a meeting of Norwich City Council on Tuesday.
Councillor Denise Carlo, Green leader of the council’s opposition, will ask for sky lanterns, also known as fire balloons, to be banned in the city, particularly in the current hot weather. Sky lanterns have been responsible for fires such as that at the Smethwick Plastic Recycling plant in 2013 and, this week, the blaze which destroyed part of a house in Wiltshire.
Councillor Carlo said:
“Norwich has had very little rain for several weeks now. The threat of fire is now heightened and some areas of Norwich, especially Mousehold Heath, are vulnerable. I’m concerned that a fire started accidentally by a sky lantern could do enormous damage.”
Mousehold Heath is home to a number of notable species, including Juniper Haircap Moss and Bell Heather, which supports bumblebees.
A fire recently burned on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester for over three weeks during June and July. Wildlife, including mountain hares and ground-nesting birds such as meadow pipits and skylarks was badly affected. The habitat has now been severely altered for animals that remain.
Sky lanterns have become popular at celebrations over recent years and can be easily bought for about £3 each. Green councillors would like anyone thinking of using them to consider the possible effects on wildlife and people’s property and safety.
The question Councillor Carlo will ask at the city council meeting is:
In view of the hot dry weather that the UK has experienced over the past weeks, would the Cabinet Member agree that the Council should ban sky lanterns given the potential fire risk they pose to open spaces in Norwich such as Mousehold Heath and to the Norfolk countryside?