Hundreds sign petition against Belvoir Castle lantern event

Belvoir Castle PHOTO: Supplied
Belvoir Castle PHOTO: Supplied
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Residents around Belvoir Castle are demanding it cancels a Lightfest lantern event planned for the summer.

Heather Wright has organised an online petition, which by yesterday had attracted around 500 supporters.

Opponents claim the release of lanterns will litter the countryside and the lanterns present a threat to animals if eaten, as well as create a fire risk.

Leicestershire Fire & Rescue has voiced its opposition stating: “We do not support or endorse this event, or the use of sky lanterns, and have advised both the event organiser and Belvoir Castle of this.”

The campaigners have also been contacting local MPs, including Nick Boles and Alan Duncan.

Some also say they are “shocked” that the castle would organise an event and that such events “should have been banned years ago.”

Mrs Wright said she kept horses and feared for their safety. She told the Journal: “We are trying to get it stopped because it causes fires and it litters the area.”

Belvoir Castle spokesowman Fiona Eastman said the castle has met with the organisers and is always concerned about the feelings of local residents and the safety of animals.

Don Harwood, media spokesman for event organisers, Utah-based Viive Productions, said his company works hand-in-hand with local officials and the venue owner to ensure all concerns concerning safety and the environment are addressed.

He said: “We make it a goal at every event we do to leave the venue in the same condition or better than we found it. This includes picking up trash and used lanterns.”

He said his company offered lanterns that die out before they return to the ground and they are biodegradeable. The lanterns would also rarely stray more than 600 years from their location.

He could not vouch for other lanterns bought off the internet, but their own “customised lanterns pose no danger to animals.”

The Belvoir Castle Lights Fest is on July 7. Go to https://thelightsfest.com/about/ for details and a response to environmental concerns.