Pupils’ victory in balloon ban to protect the environment

Children from Stanley Grove School visiting Wakefield Town Hall to talk to the mayor and councillors about balloon and lantern releases and their effect on the environment.
Children from Stanley Grove School visiting Wakefield Town Hall to talk to the mayor and councillors about balloon and lantern releases and their effect on the environment.

schoolchildren paid a visit to Wakefield Town Hall to talk to councillors about the effect balloon and lantern releases can have on the environment.

Youngsters from Stanley Grove Primary School told Coun Matthew Morley, Mayor of Featherstone Coun Margaret Isherwood and Mayor of Wakefield Coun Kevin Parker about how damaging the lanterns and balloons can be, particularly if they end up in the sea.

Their efforts led to Coun Isherwood scrapping the annual balloon release held at Featherstone town gala to support the Mayor’s charity, in favour of something more environmentally friendly.

She said: “It’s fun when they go off but you don’t realise the damage that they are causing to the environment and to marine life when they end up in the sea.

“We have decided now we are going to forego the balloon release and do something else to raise money and have fun instead. It was brilliant to meet the children and hear them highlight the issue.”

Pupils at the school have been completing work around recycling and protecting the environment.

Members of the school’s Busy Bumbles Eco Club concentrated on rubbish in the seas and have been exploring the Marine Conservation Society’s Don’t Let Go campaign, which aims to highlight the detrimental impact of balloon and lantern releases on the environment.

They want to see a local ban put in place.

Teaching assistant Yvette Shaw said: “We are so proud of the children and indeed the whole school who have all supported this campaign.

“The children learned that if you have a cause that you feel passionately about, you can approach the people elected to represent us and explain why you want things changed.

“The councillors agreed to raise awareness across Wakefield and the five towns about this issue. Together the children made a difference, a real example of democracy in action.”