Lantern safety

Sky lanterns pose a huge fire hazard, and can have a devastating impact on: agriculture, thatched properties and hazardous material sites - there have even been cases where the debris from lanterns has caused harm to animals.

Please note that both Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester councils have banned the use of sky lanterns across their areas. If you do choose to use them in other parts of the county, the following advice should help you to use them safely.

Remember to always read the manufacturers instructions before using them.

Guidance for the use of flying lanterns

  • Lanterns should be used by responsible adults only.

  • Adults should not be under the influence of alcohol or any substance that could affect their level of responsibility.

  • Have water or other extinguishing facility available at the launch site, lanterns or clothing may ignite if the correct launch procedures are not followed.

  • Keep the launch area clear of combustible materials.

  • Children and other observers to maintain a safe distance upwind of the launch area.

  • Two adults are required to correctly launch each lantern.

  • Do not attempt to launch damaged lanterns, be aware that writing messages on the paper can cause damage.

  • Do not smoke whilst handling lanterns .

Launch conditions and area

  • Ensure sufficient clearance to avoid obstacles such as trees, power lines or buildings.

  • Avoid launching near roads, especially major roads or motorways.

  • Avoid standing crops, especially in dry conditions.

  • Avoid areas that may create confusion with distress signals.

  • Do not launch within five miles of any airport.

  • Do not launch in wind speeds in excess of five miles per hour.

  • Check wind direction before launch.

  • Be aware of any other local conditions that could affect launch or landing safety such as thatched buildings, standing crops or dry heath land.

Launch procedure

(Caution! - steps may vary, refer to the manufacturers instructions)

  • Unpack and assemble the components carefully to avoid damage.

  • Remove packaging waste from the area.

  • Use two adults to launch each lantern.

  • Gently pull the centre of the lantern up and start to inflate it by "dropping" to allow the air pressure to inflate. Take care not to damage the paper.

  • Hold the lantern upright and ask the second person to carefully light the fuel cell.

  • Support the lantern gently as it inflates fully, it will eventually feel lighter and start to rise.

  • Do not attempt to throw the lantern skyward, allow it to rise with support only.

  • Do not tether the lantern as this may cause instability which could lead to the lantern igniting.  

Go Green!

  • Eco friendly lanterns are available. These are fully bio-degradable and do not contain any metal which, if left lying around, can be harmful especially to animals.

Last updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2023