As the wedding season approaches, a rural body is calling for tighter controls over the use of sky lanterns.
The wire framed paper lamps – which lift into the air with a lit candle inside them – have become a popular addition to wedding festivities and parties.
However, it is impossible to predict exactly where they will land, as they can fly for miles and there is no guarantee they will have gone out before the red-hot frames fall to earth.
The Country Land & Business Association (CLA) says people need to understand the threat they pose to livestock, crops, forestry and buildings.
The warning comes just days after the CLA discovered a used lantern on farmland 40 metres from a thatched house.
Kettering-based CLA spokesman Tim Barnes-Clay said: “The spent lanterns cause litter in fields and hedgerows.
“Cattle naturally check out unknown objects by licking and chewing at them.
“If the wire from these lanterns becomes ingested it causes a horribly slow and painful death for the animal.
“The lantern found this week was a so-called safer variety made using bamboo, but in reality splintered cane is just as sharp and therefore as dangerous to livestock as wire.
“But just as worrying is the threat of fire.
“The current weather and winds have left everything tinder dry.
“We think this is a genuine health and safety issue.
“Biodegradable frames have been suggested as an alternative to wire – but whatever manufacturers do they cannot eliminate the fire risk and that, in itself, surely poses sufficient threat to justify banning the use of these lanterns.”