On Tuesday 6th August 2019 the council held an executive meeting to discuss their executive papers and make decisions according to the items on the agenda.
Link to the executive papers to download are here:
This is a public meeting so anyone can attend, but I must warn you it can be disappointing to see how utterly political the Councillors make it. Item number 9 brought us the proposal to ban Sky Lanterns and Balloons. The recommendation being option 3, “To ban the release and sale of both sky lanterns and balloons on parks and opens spaces controlled by Ipswich Borough Council.”
The report itself highlights the problems sky lanterns and balloons cause and how bad they are for the environment which I agree with. They are bad and people shouldn’t be buying them or releasing them. However, it was agreed to introduce this as a bylaw for Ipswich Borough Council…hoorah you say no more sky lanterns. Now before we pop open the Champaign (or Lambrini for fellow skint residents) let’s think about this for one minute. Ipswich Borough Council do not allow the sale or release of these items at their public events anyway as part of their regular policy. Outside of their arranged events this bylaw is restricted to Ipswich Borough Council land and finally this cannot be enforced. So will this bylaw actually change anything? Conservative Group leader Ian Fisher voted against this bylaw for that very reason. It cannot be enforced and the whole exercise is pointless. It makes a great headline but nothing will change.
Producing this document of evidence and then the officer time after to introduce a bylaw will cost the council money. How much money? Well I don’t know that but I can’t imagine it being cheap. So is this not just another way the council are throwing away money? In Cllr Fisher’s own words “this is just virtue signalling” and I have to agree with him. It isn’t the most popular of decisions to vote against something which looks good as a headline. But I for one am grateful there is a Councillor out there that doesn’t care about being popular, he cares about doing the job right even if he ends up being somehow the bad guy. He won’t be made a hero by voting against this but he’s absolutely right to be voting against it to show this policy as being exactly what it is. Pointless virtue signalling.