CALLS to ban Chinese lanterns made by Blackrod Town Council have been backed by a Bolton MP.

Julie Hilling, MP for Bolton West, raised the town council’s concern about the lanterns to Richard Benyon, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries at DEFRA.

The response received by Ms Hilling confirmed the government were reconsidering bringing legislation on the matter.

Ms Hilling said: “I am grateful for Blackrod Town councillors for raising this important issue with me. Sky Lanterns are wonderful to enjoy, however there have been several incidents of injury or loss of life as a result of them.

“The Minister is currently looking at whether voluntary regulations are having an impact in reducing such incidents and I will continue to monitor developments and take soundings locally.”

Blackrod Town Council support Farming Leaders, who want to ban the lanterns as they can create a danger to buildings, the land and livestock.

They are expecting a rise in the number of health and safety related incidents over the Christmas and New Year period.

Blackrod Town Council has urged people to think twice about the impact of the lantern after it leaves their hands and the potential consequences of where it lands.

In June, Blackrod town councillor, Graham Farrington, who owns a farm in Scot Lane, Blackrod, called for the lanterns to be banned because they were killing animals.

The floating lanterns, which work like miniature candle-powered hot air balloons, are often used at weddings and parties.

They are made using a lightweight wire frame, which Cllr Farrington says can end up being eaten by farm animals, causing them to die.

Deaths attributed to Chinese lanterns include a barn owl in Gloucestershire, a prize cow in Cheshire and three cows in Buckinghamshire.

And bosses at Manchester Airport say the lanterns, which can reach heights of one miles, pose a safety risk to aircraft if the lanterns get sucked into aircrafts' engines.