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Balloon releases and lanterns

Balloon releases

Plymouth is privileged to sit on Plymouth Sound and Tamar Estuaries, a European Marine Site, which supports some of the finest marine wildlife in the United Kingdom.

We don't allow mass balloon releases to take place on our land, including school grounds, community buildings, the Hoe and the city centre.

This ban has been in place since August 2007 because balloons, when released, don't just simply disappear. Balloons are a serious threat to wildlife. If they make their way out to sea, animals such as turtles, whales and dolphins mistake them for food and eat them. If swallowed, balloons can block the animal's digestive system and can cause it to starve to death. The deflated balloons and the strings can also cause choking and entanglement of animals, such as seabirds, which can lead to death. If balloons are blown into the sea, they can persist in the marine environment for up to four years, greatly increasing the chances that they will cause harm to wildlife. Balloons can also be swept into Plymouth's beautiful surrounding countryside which can cause harm to terrestrial animals, including birds.

In addition to the ban on our land, we would strongly discourage people from balloon releases on their own land. However if you do intend to release balloons visit the Marine Conservation Society website.

Sky lanterns and floating lanterns

We also strongly discourages the release of sky lanterns and floating lanterns because they have also been found to cause injury or death to wildlife by ingestion, entanglement and entrapment. Sky lanterns can also cause fires. To find out more about the dangers of sky lanterns visit the RSPCA website.