Solution to long-running problem

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has contracted in a private firm to take over from the Ministry of Defence in dealing with time expired pyrotechnics (emergency flares) in the UK.

Coastguards hope this new regime will clarify the situation with regard to out of date flares owned by yachtsmen and the difficulties many have encountered trying to dispose of them legally.

A statement released by the MCA today states: The collection and disposal service will no longer be undertaken by the Ministry of Defence MoD) with effect from the 31 March 2010 because of their operational ressures.

The MCA has awarded a new contract to undertake the collection and disposal of Time Expired Pyrotechnics TEPs) from its premises. The new contracted service will be phased in from December 2009 with Ramora UK Ltd of Portsmouth. (

Following recent changes of legislation with regard to the storage and transportation of explosives, MCA premises now require to be brought into line with those changes. This will mean that the number of sites which will be able to accept TEPs will be significantly reduced.

The Agency plan to achieve this by concentrating available resources on 18 sites evenly spaced across the country. Analysis of the quantities of TEPs deposited with the MCA indicate that up to 70% of items find their way to the vicinity of the 18 proposed sites which will accept TEPs.

The following sites have therefore been identified:

Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres at

Inverness Sector Base
North Norfolk Sector Base
Cruden Bay Coastguard Rescue Office
Girvan Coastguard Rescue Office
A location at Poole

Douglas MacDonald, Head of Environment & Emergency Response Standards said

These 18 locations, spaced evenly across the country have been chosen because we believe that they will meet the majority of the public demand and are reasonably accessible. Unfortunately not all sites are manned 24 hours, but full details of locations, contact details and opening times will be posted on our web site as the new service is rolled out. We are also asking the public not to take TEPS to police stations as they have no storage facilities for these items.