Do you need permission for a balloon release and how to manage a successful balloon release.
Balloon releases are a popular way of celebrating an occasion, a great fund raising opportunity and they can also be a moving and sentimental way of saying goodbye.
Here are the key things you need to know to hold a successful balloon release.
General things to consider:
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) like to be informed of any balloon release. For releases over 5000 balloons you will need permission from the CAA at least 28 days in advance of the release this is because balloons can interfere with air traffic.
A form for permission can be obtained by calling either the NABAS office on 01989 762 204 or the Airspace Utilisation Section of the CAA on 020 7453 6599
Check with the venue that they will allow a release on their premises.
The balloons used MUST be 100% natural latex and must not contain any metallic pigment. Always source balloons from a reputable supplier, never use cheap imported balloons. Foil or Mylar balloons must never be used as they are not biodegrable and will litter the environment and damage wildlife. You can view our latex balloons here.
Do not attach ANY strings or ribbons to the balloons, even biodegradable ones as they can pose a real and immediate threat to wildlife.
The balloons should be hand tied, no plastic ties or clips should be used.
It is always worth informing the guests in attendance that latex balloons will be used just in case anybody has a latex allergy.
The balloons should be fully inflated with helium, this will ensure that the balloons float high in the atmosphere so they freeze, they then “shatter” when they burst and fall down in tiny pieces which reduces their impact and quickens the decomposition.
Release the balloons away from trees and buildings, the middle of a field is ideal. Even if it is not very windy the balloons will always travel sideways as they go up, so they need some space to make sure they clear treetops and roofs.
Always test a couple beforehand to make sure it is not too windy and the balloons rise properly.
If you are releasing more than 50 balloons it is probably best to call in a professional balloon company as the cost of DIY helium canisters will make the release expensive.
Following the rules above, there are a couple of ways in which you can release the balloons.
Balloon releases for fund raising - Balloon releases from nets
Releasing the balloons from a large net is a great way of managing the release at a fund raising event or at the end of an occasion. Having a release at the end of an event is a useful way of getting people to stay until the end (and hopefully spend more money!) this would work particularly well at a school fund raising event. To manage the release you simply peg the net to the floor and then add the balloons underneath it as people buy them. To release the balloons the net is lifted to the side. You can purchase a balloon net here.
Balloon releases for funerals - Handheld balloon releases
Holding and releasing balloons by hand is a moving way of carrying out a release where guests are saying goodbye or remembering somebody. The image of balloons drifting upwards is powerful and moving and a sentimental way of letting go. We have carried out several balloon releases at funerals and memorial services and from our experience all guests will usually want to take part, so make sure you have enough balloons inflated and ready to hand out prior to the start of the release. We usually take the helium tanks with us and inflate the balloons on site.
So there you have our top tips for a successful balloon release, if you have any questions or would like us to help you at your balloon release please get in touch.