Tesco's decision to stop selling Chinese lantern is applauded

Cotswold Journal: A sky lantern A sky lantern

THE West Midlands' top fireman has welcomed the decision by Tesco to stop selling controversial sky lanterns.

The supermarket this week announced it would stop selling the lanterns - a form of Chinese lantern which is set alight and left to float into the air like a mini hot air balloon.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service's chief fire officer Mark Yates said he "applauded" the decision and hoped other retailers took the same action.

"Sky lanterns are undoubtedly a beautiful sight when they float in to the sky but as we have found both locally and nationally, on occasions when they come to ground there can be devastating consequences including fire and danger to livestock, he said.

"I truly hope other retailers looks at Tesco’s lead and follow it.”

The service launched an investigation in November last year after more than 80 caravans at Croft Farm Waterpark in Bredons Hardwick, site of the popular annual Lakefest festival, were destroyed in a devastating fire believed to have been caused by a Chinese lantern.

Tesco's agriculture director Tom Hind said this week the decision was "the right thing to do".

“We have listened to the feedback from customers and other groups including the farming community, he said. "We will not be sending any more stock to stores and any existing stock should be gone within a matter of weeks.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has warned the lanterns - which are traditionally launched at the start of the Chinese New Year - can pose a fire risk to thatched roofs and crops and can be a distraction to pilots.

Coatguard services have reported some cases of the lanterns released near the coastline being mistaken for distress flares.

The organisation’s public health adviser Sheila Merrill said she hoped anyone celebrating the Chinese New Year this weekend would be extremely careful when using sky lanterns.

“We recommend checking the weather forecast as they should not be launched if the wind speed is five mph or more and always choose the location very wisely," she said.

"We urge people not to use sky lanterns near built-up areas, roads, crops, hay bales, trees, power lines, airports or the coast.”

The lanterns were blamed for the devastating fire at the Jayplas recycling plant in Smethwick last July in which 100,000 tons of recycled plastic and paper went up in smoke.

Comments (7)

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1:35am Sat 1 Feb 14

Jabbadad says...

WELL DONE TESCO and for the sad supporters of these FLYING FiRE BOMBS just look at where they might be safe. Safely NOWHERE.
WELL DONE TESCO and for the sad supporters of these FLYING FiRE BOMBS just look at where they might be safe. Safely NOWHERE. Jabbadad
  • Score: -1

4:06pm Sat 1 Feb 14

tub_thumper says...

You'll still be able to buy them internationally over the internet though... Tesco, and other retailers (if they follow suit), will not solve the problem. And the the lanterns themselves are not the problem either - it's the stupid idiots that launch them in windy conditions (or when it was really dry during last summer).

Saying that though, (and like I've said before) why are fireworks still being sold? They cause more fires than lanterns. Fireworks are fire bombs - lanterns just float around gracefully (if launched correctly).
You'll still be able to buy them internationally over the internet though... Tesco, and other retailers (if they follow suit), will not solve the problem. And the the lanterns themselves are not the problem either - it's the stupid idiots that launch them in windy conditions (or when it was really dry during last summer). Saying that though, (and like I've said before) why are fireworks still being sold? They cause more fires than lanterns. Fireworks are fire bombs - lanterns just float around gracefully (if launched correctly). tub_thumper
  • Score: 2

8:43pm Sat 1 Feb 14

tub_thumper says...

Why was my comment removed WN?
Why was my comment removed WN? tub_thumper
  • Score: 0

9:40pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Redhillman says...

Will cigarettes now be banned as the they can set fire to things if discarded, often in a deliberate manner, unlike Chinese lanterns? Or how about fireworks? Or perhaps matches? Or indeed any product that can now been deemed a fire hazard but poses less risk than these lanterns?
Will cigarettes now be banned as the they can set fire to things if discarded, often in a deliberate manner, unlike Chinese lanterns? Or how about fireworks? Or perhaps matches? Or indeed any product that can now been deemed a fire hazard but poses less risk than these lanterns? Redhillman
  • Score: 3

9:36pm Sun 2 Feb 14

tub_thumper says...

Redhillman wrote:
Will cigarettes now be banned as the they can set fire to things if discarded, often in a deliberate manner, unlike Chinese lanterns? Or how about fireworks? Or perhaps matches? Or indeed any product that can now been deemed a fire hazard but poses less risk than these lanterns?
I agree with you Redhillman (funny, I live in Red Hill too)...

Chinese lanterns were virtually unheard of in this country since 2008. I know this because I remember seeing them being launched in the summer from quite a distance and I couldn't fathom what they were. I knew they were man-made but didn't understand how they could illuminate and float upwards towards the sky.

It took me a year to find out what they were. My friends and family didn't know what they were either. I found out how to launch them through the internet and bought some off the internet to celebrate my one year anniversary with my wife in the summer of 2009.

A couple of days later there was a write-up in the WN talking about unidentified flying objects seen above Tollidine. The date and time tallied up with my launch.

The point I'm trying to make is that up until recently, Chinese Lanterns have been mistaken for UFO's which fits in nicely with the uneducated public. It has only been in the last four years that people, like me, have researched these UFO sightings only to discover what they actually are and so have decided to buy some and give them a go. Now, everyone is using chinese lanterns (and launching them incorrectly too). There are plenty of in-depth warnings on the whole of the wrapper (which is about the size of an old 12 inch record sleeve). Whether people take heed of these warnings is the next thing...

But like Redhillman says, there are worse things out that cause fires. Matches, cigarettes, fireworks etc...

Out of the five years that Chinese Lanterns have been popular in this country there have only been one devastating fire (last year at the recycling plant in Smethwick) that has been caused by the millions that are launched. And before anyone corrects me by saying there were two fires (the one at Croft Farm Waterpark) then think again. That fire was "believed to have been caused by a lantern.

But if we do count both fires then that's an average of 10 devestating fires caused by lanterns in five years. That must be minimal to the amout that has been caused by fireworks since they were popular in like, forever!

The thing I'm trying to say is that lanterns are relatively new and indeed will cause fear. Unlike us, the Chinese have been using them for 2000 years. They are important in their festivals. We just use them for pleasure as and when we feel.

But regardless, lanterns do cause dangerous situations if used incorrectly, just like fireworks, matches and cigarettes.
[quote][p][bold]Redhillman[/bold] wrote: Will cigarettes now be banned as the they can set fire to things if discarded, often in a deliberate manner, unlike Chinese lanterns? Or how about fireworks? Or perhaps matches? Or indeed any product that can now been deemed a fire hazard but poses less risk than these lanterns?[/p][/quote]I agree with you Redhillman (funny, I live in Red Hill too)... Chinese lanterns were virtually unheard of in this country since 2008. I know this because I remember seeing them being launched in the summer from quite a distance and I couldn't fathom what they were. I knew they were man-made but didn't understand how they could illuminate and float upwards towards the sky. It took me a year to find out what they were. My friends and family didn't know what they were either. I found out how to launch them through the internet and bought some off the internet to celebrate my one year anniversary with my wife in the summer of 2009. A couple of days later there was a write-up in the WN talking about unidentified flying objects seen above Tollidine. The date and time tallied up with my launch. The point I'm trying to make is that up until recently, Chinese Lanterns have been mistaken for UFO's which fits in nicely with the uneducated public. It has only been in the last four years that people, like me, have researched these UFO sightings only to discover what they actually are and so have decided to buy some and give them a go. Now, everyone is using chinese lanterns (and launching them incorrectly too). There are plenty of in-depth warnings on the whole of the wrapper (which is about the size of an old 12 inch record sleeve). Whether people take heed of these warnings is the next thing... But like Redhillman says, there are worse things out that cause fires. Matches, cigarettes, fireworks etc... Out of the five years that Chinese Lanterns have been popular in this country there have only been one devastating fire (last year at the recycling plant in Smethwick) that has been caused by the millions that are launched. And before anyone corrects me by saying there were two fires (the one at Croft Farm Waterpark) then think again. That fire was "believed to have been caused by a lantern. But if we do count both fires then that's an average of 10 devestating fires caused by lanterns in five years. That must be minimal to the amout that has been caused by fireworks since they were popular in like, forever! The thing I'm trying to say is that lanterns are relatively new and indeed will cause fear. Unlike us, the Chinese have been using them for 2000 years. They are important in their festivals. We just use them for pleasure as and when we feel. But regardless, lanterns do cause dangerous situations if used incorrectly, just like fireworks, matches and cigarettes. tub_thumper
  • Score: 2

11:49pm Sun 2 Feb 14

Jabbadad says...

Me thinks thayt the uneducated are those who support the use of these firebombs and also try to relate to their use in China to this country. Having been to China I was amazed at the size of unbuilt or very Rural areas of this huge Country. And as far as I could see the use of lanterns was very symbolic and had a connection to water so were launched over expanses of water, Paddy Fields and very wide rivers. Quite different to those who wish to launch them from Bransford which is rural with lots of cattle close by,or the Old Tolladine Golf course, which of course is very close to a large number of houses etc , so take your pick on the uneducated.
Me thinks thayt the uneducated are those who support the use of these firebombs and also try to relate to their use in China to this country. Having been to China I was amazed at the size of unbuilt or very Rural areas of this huge Country. And as far as I could see the use of lanterns was very symbolic and had a connection to water so were launched over expanses of water, Paddy Fields and very wide rivers. Quite different to those who wish to launch them from Bransford which is rural with lots of cattle close by,or the Old Tolladine Golf course, which of course is very close to a large number of houses etc , so take your pick on the uneducated. Jabbadad
  • Score: -2

12:22pm Mon 3 Feb 14

tub_thumper says...

Jabbadad wrote:
Me thinks thayt the uneducated are those who support the use of these firebombs and also try to relate to their use in China to this country. Having been to China I was amazed at the size of unbuilt or very Rural areas of this huge Country. And as far as I could see the use of lanterns was very symbolic and had a connection to water so were launched over expanses of water, Paddy Fields and very wide rivers. Quite different to those who wish to launch them from Bransford which is rural with lots of cattle close by,or the Old Tolladine Golf course, which of course is very close to a large number of houses etc , so take your pick on the uneducated.
I used the word "uneducated" because people did not know what the Chinese Lanterns were. You need to read my comments properly. Also, I fully support your views on the idiots that launch lanterns incorrectly. Just like teenagers who set fireworks off across the ground or put them in dustbins to see what happens. Or the people who discard matches and cigarettes in refuse that contains flammable materials...

My comparison to China was that the lanterns have been in use there for 2000 years compared to the five years here. I made no reference to whether lanterns caused problems over there. Another case of you not reading my comments properly...

And as for uneducated - I think you have confused the use of "fire bombs" with the incendiary bombs of WW2 compared to the paper lantern that floats around and falls to the ground once extinguished...

I still stand by my cause that there was only one major fire last year that has promoted the mass fear amongst the population compared to the millions of fires, accidents and arson cause by other devices.
[quote][p][bold]Jabbadad[/bold] wrote: Me thinks thayt the uneducated are those who support the use of these firebombs and also try to relate to their use in China to this country. Having been to China I was amazed at the size of unbuilt or very Rural areas of this huge Country. And as far as I could see the use of lanterns was very symbolic and had a connection to water so were launched over expanses of water, Paddy Fields and very wide rivers. Quite different to those who wish to launch them from Bransford which is rural with lots of cattle close by,or the Old Tolladine Golf course, which of course is very close to a large number of houses etc , so take your pick on the uneducated.[/p][/quote]I used the word "uneducated" because people did not know what the Chinese Lanterns were. You need to read my comments properly. Also, I fully support your views on the idiots that launch lanterns incorrectly. Just like teenagers who set fireworks off across the ground or put them in dustbins to see what happens. Or the people who discard matches and cigarettes in refuse that contains flammable materials... My comparison to China was that the lanterns have been in use there for 2000 years compared to the five years here. I made no reference to whether lanterns caused problems over there. Another case of you not reading my comments properly... And as for uneducated - I think you have confused the use of "fire bombs" with the incendiary bombs of WW2 compared to the paper lantern that floats around and falls to the ground once extinguished... I still stand by my cause that there was only one major fire last year that has promoted the mass fear amongst the population compared to the millions of fires, accidents and arson cause by other devices. tub_thumper
  • Score: 3

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