A WELSH council has become the last local authority in the country to ban the release of 'deadly' sky lanterns from its land.

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council has unanimously approved plans to restrict sky lantern use on land controlled by the local authority.

Pembrokeshire County Council was one of the first to ban the release of paper lanterns - also known as Chinese lanterns - from its land in 2013.

It followed a challenge from the Welsh Government to all councils in Wales.

Speaking in 2013, county councillor David Howlett said the lanterns not only posed a fire hazard, but also caused a “danger to livestock that could ingest small parts of them in silage”.

He said that, as the owner of a significant amount of land, it was only right that Pembrokeshire County Council prohibited the release of the lanterns.

“This would hopefully raise public awareness and encourage people not to release these lanterns anywhere in Pembrokeshire,” he added.

The ban, which is backed by organisations such as the RSPCA, Keep Wales Tidy and the Marine Conservation Society, applies to all council-owned or controlled land, and includes Chinese and sky lanterns, and helium balloons.

RSPCA campaigns assistant Charlie Skinner said: “This has been long-fought and tireless campaign, and we’re delighted that Merthyr Council’s action means all 22 local authorities across the country have acted on the real danger posed by sky lanterns.

"Council land in Wales is now a no fly zone for sky lanterns.

"These devices can have deadly consequences for pets, farm and wild animals; and it’s huge step forward for animal welfare that these restrictions now exist in all corners of our nation."

The RSPCA says sky lanterns pose multiple dangers to animals – and can cause entanglement or entrapment.

They can also be ingested; meaning sharp parts of the device can tear and puncture an animal’s throat or stomach causing horrific internal bleeding.

Lanterns also act as a fire hazard – destroying habitats, and potentially setting animal housing, feed and bedding alight.

It says marine life is also endangered by lanterns falling into the sea.