Chinese lanterns or sky lanterns are small balloons, generally made of paper and bamboo, with a burner inside to generate hot air that gives the lantern its lift. Permission is required from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) before any launch of these products can take place. They are classified as 'free floating balloons' for which written launch permission is required. I am informed that there have been no recorded injuries in Ireland to people resulting from the use of sky lanterns.
The establishment of a European safety standard for these products is being considered by the European Committee for Standardisation. However, there is an acknowledgement that it is not a straightforward product for which to develop a standard. Under article 13 of the current General Product Safety Directive, an EU Commission decision to ban certain products can be made where there is agreement by member states that the risk is immediate and that current law does not protect the health and safety of consumers. This decision is valid for a year but can be renewed for terms not exceeding a year.