Concerns over planned Peak District sky lantern festival

A sky lantern festival scheduled for the Peak District has raised concerns as a result of recent major fires across moorland.

Buxton Raceway, close to the moors in Derbyshire, is due to be hosting The Lights Fest on 28 July.

Although the event organiser says the lanterns it uses do not pose a fire hazard on its website, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue is  trying to dissuade the organisers from going ahead following wildfires at Saddleworth Moor.

Ruth George, the Labour MP for High Peak, said the festival should be cancelled due to the fire risk in the heart of the "environmentally sensitive" Peak District and has written to the organisers asking them to withdraw the event. 

The Peak District National Park said moorland fires were "lethal" to wildlife and lanterns only increased the risk. The Derbyshire Events Safety Advisory Group said it had also expressed its concerns to the organisers and is awaiting a "definitive fire risk assessment", according to the BBC. 

The Peak District said sky lanterns increased the risk of fire on dry moorland and were "devastating to the landscape, lethal for wildlife and a threat to people and homes".

A number of local authorities and event organisers have already banned Chinese lanterns.

The company, which runs lantern events in the US, UK and Ireland, says on its website: "The Lights Fest has created biodegradable lanterns with a limited burn time and flame retardant. Without these characteristics, prohibited lanterns can pose a fire hazard to surrounding areas."

Source: BBC