A "boutique style hotel with spectacular views over Llandudno" marked the start of 2019 by conducting a balloon release.
The hotel obviously prides itself in providing a personal service for guests, ie a complimentary bottle of Prosecco for a landmark birthday. However it missed the mark on New Year's Eve. On 2 January 2019 the hotel proudly posted on social media that it had conducted a personalised airborne littering event to acknowledge the start of the New Year.
festive spirit and great excitement followed the personalised balloon 'release' carrying special messages for 2019 - what an awesome way to start the year
The Elm Tree is based just a few steps away from Llandudno Bay in North Wales, and the 'Great Orme'. This spectacular limestone headland is thought to be over 350 million years old. It has a number of important designations: it is a Country Park, a Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. In other words is a 'protected' site.
… and the balloons on new years eve was so so special. David B, TripAdvisor Review
The Twitter post soon gathered comments from concerned members of the public asking if the hotel would be conducting a #2MinuteLitterPick, and wondering why there was still no comprehension that released balloons don't land in a bin, do kill animals and add to the land and marine litter problem.
Chris Hill "Would you strangle or choke a seabird or a hedgehog if it was in front of you? No? Well why do that at a distance with your shameful littering balloon release".
Victoria "Awesome for who? The wildlife undoubtedly affected by your irresponsible behaviour?".
Ingesting balloons can cause a slow death to wild birds and mammals as well as farm animals, horses and marine life. Adam Grogan, RSPCA
It is likely that the Mylar stretched polyester film balloons would have landed in the sea, where they can entangle and kill marine and wildlife. This could include seals. In November 2018 the hotel filmed a seal swimming just a couple of feet off North Beach.
Adam Grogan, head of wildlife at the RSPCA stated in December 2018 "Although balloons released into the sky make an impressive sight, deflated or fragments of balloons can be eaten by accident or mistaken for food.
Ingesting balloons can cause a slow death to wild birds and mammals as well as farm animals, horses and marine life, by blocking the digestive or respiratory tracts, and the attached strings can strangle or cause animals to get tangled.”
The Elm Tree apologies
At lunchtime today (4 January 2019) the hotel issued an apology on their website.
"It has been brought to our attention following our recent New Year balloon release that this type of activity has negative consequences for wildlife and marine life.
Some of the comments and publicity that we have received online have brought these problems into a sharp focus and indeed educated us on this issue.
Ironically at the time, we discussed internally, the option of fireworks, which several establishments opt for, and felt that it was too harsh for the many domestic pets, birds and indeed marine life in the immediate area. We would not purposefully do any activity that would have a detrimental effect on natural habitats and so sincerely regret that this activity occurred and we had not taken the potential consequences into consideration.
We will be conducting a beach clean-up activity on a local beach later this month, as a way of trying to gain further awareness for these important environmental issues. The Elm Hotel
Our hope is that any publicity this has generated will educate others and ultimately result in stopping this type of activity in the future.
We must all look for opportunities to lessen our impact on the environment and we will be conducting a beach clean-up activity on a local beach later this month, as a way of trying to gain further awareness for these important environmental issues."