Ruth George MP calls for cancellation of Buxton sky lantern event

UPDATE: FRIDAY 6 JULY

Delighted to hear that Buxton Raceway has cancelled the Buxton LightsFest on the advice of local fire & police – and their own concerns given the current moorland fires. Thank you!

 

UPDATE: THURSDAY 5 JULY

Although I have written very strongly to the Lights Fest and I understand they were due to contact Buxton Raceway with a decision on cancellation yesterday, the event is still advertised and I have not heard that it has been cancelled.

Our Fire and police services are now considering their legal options to prevent the event and I have called again on the organisers to cancel it to save our emergency services from wasting very valuable energy and resources in legal proceedings when they need to concentrate on fighting fires and crime.

I will update as soon as I hear anything definite.

 

Thanks to everyone who has signed the petition. Here is what I have done so far. Please like and follow my website and Facebook pages for further updates.

This is the text of a letter I sent to the event organisers on Monday 2 July.  This followed a letter I sent the previous week (Saturday 23 June) to the venue, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, Peak District National Park Authority and High Peak Borough Council.

So far I have had no response from the American event organisers.

You can also read my comments to the BBC here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-44632621

Letter to LightsFest organisers:

Dear Sirs

I am the Member of Parliament for High Peak which includes the town of Buxton, where LightsFest has planned the North West England sky lantern release event at the town’s raceway on 28th July: https://thelightsfest.com/event/manchester/

The venue is surrounded by open moorland within the Peak District National Park and very near to a large number of wildfires currently out of control. Please see UK national news: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-44667762

In light of the extremely hazardous conditions in High Peak I call on you to cancel this event.

Your website states, “We will never produce or take part in any event without the help of the local fire marshal and fire department.”

However I have asked Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service for their view and the Chief Fire Officer has responded to inform me:

“I’m told that an application for a Premises License has recently been submitted and, as statutory consultees, we will be strongly advising against this event… The Fire Service will be highlighting the many risks, especially since we have a dry weather forecast ahead.”

In the case of Buxton you do not appear to have complied with your own commitment to produce an event without the local fire service and it is difficult to see how you will be able to do so.

Fire services across a 100-mile area are currently fully deployed in fighting wildfires on the moors.

No rain is forecast in Buxton for the next 2 weeks, and likely until the date of the event.

In addition, you will be aware that UK government guidelines on sky lanterns state they must not be released in wind speeds which exceed 5mph.

Buxton is one of the highest market towns in the UK and wind speeds are rarely less than 5mph, even in the evenings.

According to the detailed weather forecast for the next 2 weeks, wind speeds at 9pm are only expected to be 5mph on 2 evenings out of 14. They are never expected to be below 5mph.

It is therefore highly unlikely that the event will ever be able to take place at Buxton Raceway and in light of this I would ask that you withdraw the event from your listings in order that no further money is extracted from the public for an event that cannot take place.

I look forward to hearing from you with your early response.

If you would like to discuss this, please call me on (0044) 207-219-1803 or 77816-935539.

I have copied this email to local media where there is considerable local concern in light of the widespread wildfires which have been making national headlines in the UK for over a week.

Yours sincerely

Ruth

Ruth George MP

Member of Parliament for High Peak