PLANS to launch 10,000 balloons at a lavish Southampton party have been scrapped.

Cruise giants Cunard intended to release the balloons at a celebration on Friday for the 10th birthday of the Queen Mary 2.

But the decision sparked an online campaign from environmental groups due to the potential damage to marine life.

According to the Marine Conservation Society, balloons are mistaken for food once they drift back down to land or sea, particularly by turtles.

If eaten the balloons can block the digestive system and cause the animal to starve.

A spokesman for Cunard said: “A number of people contacted us with environmental concerns after hearing about the balloon release. In response to their comments, we have looked into this further and reconsidered our plans and the balloon release will now not be happening as part of our celebrations."

The QM2 will be joined by the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Victoria while the celebration will include a fireworks display.