Balloons and lanterns causing 'sky-tipping' in Anglesey, putting wildlife at risk

Izzy Lyons
Hundreds of sky lanterns and balloons have been found strewn around the coast of Anglesey - Friends of the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path (FAOCP) 

A “sky-tipping" warning has been issued by a Welsh council after hundreds of balloons and lanterns found strewn on a coastal path are putting wildlife at risk. 

The remnants of 879 balloons and sky lanterns released during celebrations were littered along the coast of Anglesey in 2017, the Friends of the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path (FAOCP) said, which are injuring animals and trapping fish.

The Isle of Anglesey County Council is now urging the public and businesses to avoid using balloons at events where possible to cut down on "sky-tipping", a term coined by the FOACP.

They are calling on the local council to ban balloon releases on public land such as beaches in order to tackle the growing problem.

The island's council is urging the public to avoid using balloons where possible to cut down on "sky-tipping" Credit: FAOCP

Professor John Payne, secretary of the FAOCP, said: “We are finding more and more of these balloons. It’s an ongoing and non-decreasing problem. When I approached some of the charities and companies whose names are on the balloons, I didn’t get a response from any of them. 

“We are seeing birds trying to eat the balloons, seagulls tangled up in them and even cows running towards them in a field. They are endangering the local wildlife.”

Councillor Carwyn Jones told the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service: "We know sky lanterns and balloons can be a popular part of celebrations, but 'sky-tipping' is a real problem.

"Balloons, in particular, are often mistaken for food by many species of wildlife.

"Unfortunately, once balloons have been eaten they can block digestive systems and cause animals to starve. The string on balloons can also entangle and trap animals."