By Connie Osborne Friday 30 August 2013 Updated: 30/08 10:24
CONFUSION over a county policy led to a one man protest at a Special Olympics event.
The balloon release outside the Town Hall on Tuesday (August 27) marked the borough's special Olympians leaving to compete in the Bath games this weekend.
But the event came just days after Worcestershire County Council announced it had adopted the Marine Society Balloon Policy which classes the intentional releasing of lanterns and balloons as littering.
In a lone protest against the release Kevin White, an environmentalist and Redditch Green Party member, held placards and voiced his anger at Redditch Borough Council for allowing the event to take place while youngsters gathered together to mark the occasion.
He said: "It is littering our society. We teach children from a very early age not to drop litter and here we are with Redditch Council endorsing the littering of balloons.
"What goes up must come down and it can end up going into the sea and having a detrimental impact on birds and wildlife.
"One million sea birds die from plastic bags and 100 thousand mammals die from waste which includes balloons and plastics."
But bosses at Redditch Borough Council said the county council had not informed them of the policy and the event had been organised before it was made public.
A spokeswoman said: "This is the first we have heard of this policy but our officers are looking at how they can work together with the county to further protect our environment."
While Adrian Hardman, leader of Worcestershire County Council, said although they wanted organisations to follow in the council's footsteps there was no penalty for releasing balloons or setting off lanterns.
"The balloon policy has been best working practice since 2009 because of the risks to the environment. The county council's central marketing and communications team has been advising colleagues that we don't use balloon releases since then.
"The document from the Marine Conservation Society which we are adopting, now brings policy in line with working practice"
But Redditch MP Karen Lumley, who is a patron of the Redditch Special Olympics group, said the demonstration was 'unnecessary' and 'disappointing'.
"This action should not take away from the event or how proud this town should be of these truly amazing individuals."
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