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Flare Disposal

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Disposal of Pyrotechnics

In 2005 legislative changes meant that the MCA lost its Crown Exemption from the previous Explosive Acts which made the storage of TEPs possible. The loss of this exemption and the total withdrawal of the collection and disposal service once provided by the MoD Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Teams has meant that the MCA must now operate in accordance with current Explosive Storage and Transport Regulations for the holding of out of date flares.



Shetland Coastguard will accept out of date pyrotechnics for storage prior to their disposal by EPC-UK, a private company contracted to the MCA.  Previously pyrotechnics were disposed of by  Explosive Ordnance Disposal Teams from the Ministry Of  Defence, pictures from a MOD  ”pyro burn” can be found HERE.

MRCC Shetlands storage facilities can only accommodate a small number of out of date pyrotechnics, therefore, we are only able to store out of date pyrotechnics received directly from non-regulated pleasure vessels.

If you intend to request disposal of your flares via MRCC Shetland, then please call to arrange a suitable time to deliver your flares and provide details of their type, quantity, age and condition. On arriving at the station please leave your flares inside the front door before proceeding upstairs to the operations room and make yourself known to a member of the Duty Watch, who will log the type and quantity of flares, before securing them to awaiting disposal.

If you have a query or are unsure how to proceed in the disposal of your old flares then you can call us on 01595 692976 for advice.


PLEASE do NOT discard flares in domestic bins or skips. They can seriously injure or KILL.



The information below is taken from MGN419 (M+F) this document can be found by following this link

a) It is an offence to fire distress-signal pyrotechnics on land, in harbour or at sea for either testing purposes, practice or as fireworks (whether the pyrotechnics are out of date or not);

b) It is also an offence to dump pyrotechnics at sea;

c) Out of date pyrotechnics should be landed ashore as soon as possible after the date of expiry for safe disposal.

d) Do not place out of date pyrotechnics in the general rubbish, or abandon them at Coastguard, RNLI or Police stations.


Disposal Routes:

a) some pyrotechnic suppliers, or their agent(s), may have a collection and disposal scheme in place and may be able to accept your out of date pyrotechnics;

b) ask a liferaft service station if they are able to take your out of date pyrotechnics as these service stations deal with the disposal of expired pyrotechnics on a regular basis;

c) ask the port, harbour or marina where your vessel is berthed if it will accept out of date pyrotechnics for disposal (a charge may be made).

HM Coastguard accepts some out of date pyrotechnics for storage at Coastguard sites prior to disposal. However, Coastguard storage facilities can only accommodate small stocks of out of date pyrotechnics and not large commercial stocks. Therefore, it is only able to store its own out of date pyrotechnics and those received directly from non-regulated pleasure vessels. Commercial organisations should make their own arrangements either with specialist hazardous waste disposal companies or contact the pyrotechnic manufacturer/supplier who may provide a disposal service.

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