UPDATE: sky lantern festival cancelled following mass outcry

  • A sky lantern festival has been cancelled following public outcry.

    The Lights Festival was due to take place at Buxton Raceway in Derbyshire — less than 30 miles from the wildfires on Saddleworth Moor.

    Matthew Watson, a promoter at Buxton Raceway, announced the cancellation on Facebook last night (5 July).

    “In view of the current moorland fires in Derbyshire, Lancashire and Staffordshire I thought it highly appropriate to seek advice regarding the staging of the lantern festival scheduled for 28th July,” he said.

    “Taking the advice from the local fire [and] police departments alongside our own concerns I have taken the stance to cancel the event.”

    More than 9,600 people had signed a petition to cancel the event, which involved a mass release of lanterns.

    The Peak District National Park, RSPCA, Countryside Alliance and MP Ruth George were among those calling for it to be cancelled.

    “Delighted to hear that Buxton Raceway has cancelled the Buxton LightsFest on the advice of local fire & police — and their own concerns given the current moorland fires. Thank you!” said Ms George in a statement on her website today (6 July).

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    The Peak District National Park has also welcomed the news.

    Sarah Fowler, chief executive of the Peak District National Park said: “We welcome the decision by Buxton Raceway to cancel the Manchester/Birmingham Lights Fest at Buxton on the doorstep of the Peak District National Park, which would have put our valuable landscapes, wildlife and farming livelihoods at risk.

    “I share the public’s frustration that the organisers did not consider the impacts of sky lanterns before planning this event so close to the UK’s first national park, and not least in light of recent wildfire incidents.

    “Our view remains that the use of sky lanterns should be formally recognised as littering, and therefore subject to the same laws.

    “I would like to thank the public, Ruth George and Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service for joining us in support of stopping this completely avoidable risk to our national park.”

    The event appears to have disappeared from Facebook, but the company’s website remains open for ticket sales for this event.

    The organisers of the event have not yet responded to H&H’s requests for comment.

    In this week’s magazine, out on 5 July, don’t miss our bumper show guide issue, with complete show listings for 2018 plus features on keeping horses sound on hard ground, the best show venues in Britain and much more.

    In this week’s H&H interview, we talk to international event rider Izzy Taylor and check out our new feature ‘Fix it’ — Laura Tomlinson on improving a horse’s self-carriage. Read reports from across the disciplines over the weekend, including dressage action from Sheepgate, showjumping from Royal Highland and more.

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