Wedding venues will ban Chinese lanterns
Wedding venues across the region are cracking down on the use of Chinese lanterns in the aftermath of one of biggest blazes to hit the West Midlands.
Haden Hill House in Cradley Heath, Himley Hall in Dudley and The Hawthorns have given directives to wedding parties to do away with the ceremonial gesture.
It comes after a £6 million blaze tore through a recycling plant in Smethwick which was sparked by a sole Chinese lantern.
Willenhall-based retail chain Poundland immediately stripped the lanterns from shelves and banned them from sale.
Organisers of this year's V Festival are also banning them from the music extravaganza, adding them to the 'not permitted' items for festival goes.
Wedding venues are now following suit by directing guests not to set off the lanterns.
In addition to Haden Hill house; Sandwell Register Office at Highfields in West Bromwich; Lightwoods Park bandstand in Smethwick and the council chamber at Oldbury have all received orders to ban the lamps.
Leader of Sandwell Council Councillor Darren Cooper said: "We need to lead by example.
"I have previously called for a ban on Chinese lanterns and I will be giving an instruction that we will not allow them to be launched at our wedding venues.
"The Smethwick fire shows just what tremendous damage and disruption they can cause."
Spokesman for West Bromwich Albion, John Simpson, said the lanterns wouldn't be allowed at The Hawthorns.
He said: "We have yet to receive a request from clients wishing to release lit lanterns since The Hawthorns became a licensed wedding venue. Considering the proximity of the stadium and the potential hazard/damage, it is not something we would allow on our premises."
Himley Hall in Himley, Dudley is another venue which is to control the use of the lights.
Councillor Tracy Wood, cabinet member for environment and culture, said: "In light of the recent serious fire in Smethwick and following regional advice from West Midlands Fire Service we would ask people to consider not letting off Chinese lanterns at Himley Hall. Given Himley is such a vast area, we have no way of controlling the use of lanterns, but we would hope people would think of the serious implications these lanterns can cause."
Elsewhere Chillington Hall in Brewood near Wolverhampton said it has its own policy. Event co-ordinator Andrea Collins said: "We have instructed brides and grooms not to set off the Chinese lanterns because it is surrounded by farming land."
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