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Call to shun mass balloon and lantern releases still on the horizon

PUBLISHED: 07:52 09 March 2019

Norfolk County Council could launch a charter calling for organisations to take a stand against mass balloon releases Picture: James Bass

Norfolk County Council could launch a charter calling for organisations to take a stand against mass balloon releases Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2016

A proposed charter calling on organisations to stamp out mass balloon and sky lantern releases has taken a step closer to becoming a reality.

Independent councillor Sandra Squire has spoken out against mass balloon releases Picture: Sandra SquireIndependent councillor Sandra Squire has spoken out against mass balloon releases Picture: Sandra Squire

The charter, which would ask businesses, charities and other organisations to sign a pledge distancing themselves from the events, was among a range of eco-friendly measures discussed at County Hall on Friday.

Proposed by a cross-party task group, the charter will now go to full council for approval before it can introduced by Norfolk County Council.

The group was formed following a motion from independent councillor Sandra Squire and has also set about bring in other environmentally minded initiates at County Hall.

Mrs Squire said: “This has been one of the best examples of cross-party work I have experienced in my time as a councillor and I’m pleased to see us all pulling in the same direction for a single cause.

“I have felt extremely passionate about balloon releases ever since seeing thousands floating in the Atlantic, more than a thousand miles from land.”

The same task group has also set about considerably reducing the amount of single-use plastics in county council premises.

These measures have included replacing plastic cups with paper ones in drinking facilities, buying supplies in bulk where possible to reduce packaging and encouraging the use of re-usable drinks vessels.

The task group also proposed a separate charter calling on organisations to cut back on single use plastics wherever possible.

Joel Hull, the council officer who prepared the report, said things were moving in the right direction, but the task group’s work was not complete.

Conservative councillor Stuart Clancy said: “I think we can all agree that good progress has been made, but we can all agree it is not a finished article.”

Terry Jermey, Labour councillor, said focus needs to be placed on educating people of the environmental damage balloon releases can do.

He said: “I must confess, in the past I have organised releases using biodegradable balloons, not realising the harm they can cause. Therefore, it’s so important that we spread this message - education is the key.”

After receiving the support of the committee, full council will decide whether to launch the charters.

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