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Peak District sky lantern event stopped by fire fears

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102229785 hi018519359 - Peak District sky lantern event stopped by fire fears

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Sky lanterns have been criticised for posing a fire risk

A planned sky lantern festival in Derbyshire has been cancelled after intense pressure over fire fears.

The Lights Fest had been due to be held at Buxton Raceway, close to Peak District moorlands, on 28 July.

But a local MP, the fire service and Peak District National Park had all said it posed a huge risk to wildlife and the environment.

Promoter Matthew Watson said the move came after taking advice from emergency services “alongside our own concerns”.

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Large fires have spread across Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill

Wider concerns about the safety of such floating lanterns had been sharpened by the dry weather and large fires Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill.

Ruth George, the Labour MP for High Peak, wrote to the organisers asking them to cancel the event in the heart of the “environmentally sensitive” Peak District.

The Peak District National Park said moorland fires were “lethal” to wildlife and lanterns only increased the risk.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue, which has been working at the Winter Hill fire and also dealt with a large moorland blaze at Goytslough Quarry, said it had advised against the lantern show.

An online petition opposing the event got more than 9,600 signatures.

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Peak District National Park Authority says it wants the use of lanterns classified as littering

In a statement on Buxton Raceway’s Facebook page, Mr Watson said: “In view of the current moorland fires in Derbyshire, Lancashire and Staffordshire I thought it highly appropriate to seek advice regarding the staging of the lantern festival scheduled for 28 July.

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

Ms George said in a Facebook post that she was “delighted” it would not now go ahead.

The Lights Fest event is run by a US-based company which insists on its website that its “flame retardant” lanterns are biodegradable with a “limited burn time” and were therefore not a fire hazard.

A number of local authorities and event organisers have banned them and the National Fire Chiefs Council remains opposed to their use.

A similar event at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, was cancelled following a petition which claimed the lanterns could hurt livestock and cause damage to plants and properties.

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