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ITV urged to ditch ITV1 lanterns promo

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ITV has been urged by a leading campaign group to stop using footage of Chinese lanterns being released over the countryside, it has emerged.

The broadcaster used pictures of the lanterns, which rise into the air after being lit, for a promotional ident on its flagship ITV1 channel before programmes start.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the National Farmers Union is concerned that the footage could encourage excessive use of the lanterns.

Despite being popular with party-goers and venues, the NFU believes that the lanterns pose a dangerous fire risk and so it has launched a campaign against their use.

"The lanterns are dangerous because they can set fields of corn alight when they land," said an NFU spokesperson.

"Also a metal part inside the lantern is dangerous to animals if it lands in a field and gets mixed with animal feed.

"We are contacting ITV with a plea for the station to stop using the ident, especially at this time of year at harvest time when many parts of the country are tinder dry."

Fire service authorities in West Sussex and Devon & Somerset have recently issued warnings against the lanterns, which have already been banned in Australia, Malta and parts of Germany.

NFU President Peter Kendall said: "We don't want to be killjoys at all, but - with the very dry summer and the reports were getting of injuries to cattle - we would urge party-goers and venues to resist the temptation to release lanterns into the countryside."

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