Marine conservation group calls for halt to plans for ‘poppy balloons’ to be released


PLANS to release thousands of “poppy balloons” in memory of fallen soldiers have been condemned by animal lovers.

They reckon the release could result in the deaths of creatures which choke to death on deflated balloons.

The Marine Conservation Society even said it was “mobilising troops” to stop the tribute.


The campaign, called ‘Let a Poppy Fly’, is calling for the release red helium balloons on Saturday, November 7



The campaign, called ‘Let a Poppy Fly’, is calling for the release red helium balloons on Saturday, November 7, the day before Remembrance Sunday.

Already 85 ‘balloon release organisers’ have been signed up to help run the event across the UK, including about a dozen in central Scotland.

And dedicated Facebook page has attracted more than 2,000 ‘likes’ as the momentum builds.

The page says: “We are trying to make the Let a Poppy Fly a national, annual event, to be held on the Saturday.”


The marine group say once balloons are release they can become a serious form of marine pollution



But a spokeswoman for the Marine Conservation Society hit out: “This is a really bad idea and perhaps not the best way to commemorate the fallen.

“We are mobilising our troops to get them to see sense.”

Emma Cunningham, pollution campaigns officer for the society, said: “We don’t know how many thousands of balloons with poppies will be released.

“Once balloons are released they can become a serious form of marine pollution.


Getting tangled up in balloon string or ribbon can be deadly for sea birds



“The two main threats are through ingestion – eating a balloon or pieces of balloon due to mistaking them for prey items such as jellyfish – and from getting tangled up in balloon string or ribbon.”

“It’s the poppies they are attaching to the balloons as well. It’s a double littering effect.

“Even a biodegradable item can still remain in the marine environment for four years.”

The event organisers did not respond to a request to comment.

A post on their Facebook page states: “We have constantly stated no string or ribbon is to be used. And silicon is a natural product and is biodegradable, I hope this clears all the rumour and rubbish that is being spread around at this time.”

Supporters are told: “We are working to recommend the best suppliers for the balloons, they should be silicon Poppy Red and 12in max and be filled with helium, all items including poppies to be bio-degradable.”


  1. Even many of the veterans whom this initiative is designed to support condemn this initiative.

    And all the evidence is that even supposedly “biodegradable” balloons are no better than others in terms of the damage they do, the threat they pose to wildlife and the litter they create.

    Most responsible charities and fundraisers have taken balloon releases off their activity list.

  2. Please not this is not an official group, it’s just a facebook Page. They have no legal standing. The elephant in the room that I dare not mention on their pathetic page is that this sort of thing seems to appeal to morons; there is no getting through to them. I wonder why they wish to send balloons upwards.
    Of course it will encourage more of these ludicrous events; you know they are becoming de rigeur?

  3. well isn’t this article an interesting read!! As one of the admins for Let a poppy fly I can honestly say how one sided this article is!! It’s made up of little facts and major lies (typical of the press) As well as this untrue article, we have also received a lot of abuse (over the period of losing my nan too) the organiser has lost his job through constant harassment to his work place, and many of our supporters have also received abuse. We feel this sort of abuse is unacceptable and we have been very hurt and disturbed by this. I’m rather disgusted in this article too as it was published one sided with no contact from your selfs to Let a poppy fly for any input to the story you have published.

  4. Amii

    The reporter involved sent a direct message to the Facebook group on May 8. I can only assume it was not seen by any of the administrators. The message made clear who we are, want we wanted and how to get in touch.

    You say the story is made up of “little facts and major lies” but you do not give any examples. Please get in touch with specifics and I will look into it.

    We cannot fairly be held responsible for any alleged abuse directed towards you or your group.

    I do not accept that we wrote a one-sided article. We reported the aims of your group in some detail and in a neutral manner as well as the opinions of your critics. What we produced was an objective news report similar to thousands of stories published by hundreds of media organisations the same day.


    Peter Laing
    Managing Editor

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