Sky lantern festival cancelled because of wildfire risk

ORGANISERS of a sky lantern festival in the southern Peak District have bowed to pressure to cancel the event, because of the threat it posed to fuelling wildfires in the surrounding countryside.

The event would have seen thousands of lanterns released into the night sky at Buxton Raceway, at Brandside, on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border, on Saturday, July 28.

Brandside is not far from the 123-acre heathland blaze which broke out in the neighbouring Staffordshire Moorlands  at the weekend.

More than 9,600 people signed a petition calling for The Lights of Northern England to be cancelled, after Hight Peak MP Ruth George had initially raised concerns. 

Matthew Watson, promoter at Buxton Raceway, said: “In view of the current moorland fires in Derbyshire, Lancashire and Staffordshire Moorlands, I thought it highly appropriate to seek advice regarding the staging of the lantern festival scheduled for July 28.

“Taking advice from the local fire/police department alongside our own concerns I have taken the stance to cancel the event.”

Sky lanterns are banned from being released on public property by a number of councils due to the increased risk of fire damage.