Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

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Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby Aja » Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:29 pm

It occurs to me that some may be unaware of the 'new' arrangements announced by the MCA last month.
So here is the announcement, and please don't shoot the messenger:

MCA OUTLINE CHANGES IN THE COLLECTION OF TIME EXPIRED PYROTECHNICS

The MCA, with the assistance of the Department for Transport, will continue to accept TEPs from the public; however 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 pressures.

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency 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. (http://www.ramorauk.com)

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

� Shetland
� Stornoway
� Belfast
� Liverpool
� Holyhead
� Milford
� Falmouth
� Brixham
� Solent
� Dover
� Thames
� Humber
� Forth
� Inverness Sector Base
� North Norfolk Sector Base
� Cruden Bay Coastguard Rescue Office
� Girvan Coastguard Rescue Office and
� 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 http://www.mcga.gov.uk 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."

So it may be easier for some of us on the Clyde to travel to the Forth for disposal of flares rather than travel to Girvan. I'm surprised about that with the MCA based in Gourock (15 mins from me.... :x )

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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby Silkie » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:12 pm

I see the Forth office is actually in Fifeness.
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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby Nick » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:14 pm

.

They're having a laugh . . . nowhere within a four hour drive for us.

I am going to take ours and drop them over the side somewhere reasonably deep.

- W
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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby Silkie » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:47 pm

Would you like me to edit that last statement for you? :)
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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby Nick » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:56 pm

.
Would you like me to edit that last statement for you?

No thank you.

I really am very annoyed about the whole thing. I have been trying to get rid of some old and possibly dangerous flares for four years now. Why should I drive four hours with them to a place that may not even be manned when I get there? I suspect anyway that it may well invalidate my car insurance should anything happen.

I am making the asumption that they are likely to cause less environmental damage if I deep-six them than if I bury them or send them to landfill, but I am quite happy for someone to persuade me otherwise. I could dig a three foot deep hole in our allotment, but am not convinced that chemicals won't get into the groundwater. Perhaps one of the quarries on Easdale Island is a good idea - very deep, isolated and probably already full of ancient explosives.

Leaving them in my shed forever to possibly burn down the whole terrace does not seem like a sensible option. I certainly won't be buying any more, and I imagine a lot of other people will feel the same.
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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby Mark » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:02 pm

Nick wrote:I certainly won't be buying any more, and I imagine a lot of other people will feel the same.


This has actually become something of a mainstream view.

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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby Pete Cooper » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:10 pm

Nick wrote:.
I certainly won't be buying any more, and I imagine a lot of other people will feel the same.

Are there any figures that show the effectiveness of flares?
I ask because to me it seems that they are out dated. Recently I have read of laser lights which may or may not be a replacement for flares. Are they any better?
I have never let a flare off in anger or otherwise, but it seems to me to be outdated technology - let's not forget the guy(who's name escapes me) who was doing a demo and was seriously hurt - I would imagine that the flare that caused the problem was in date and correctly deployed - but it still put him seriously injured in hospital for quite a while.
If my boat sinks I would not like to use something that may or may not cause further issues.
If I don't use flares they then become a problem to safely dispose of.

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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby sahona » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:43 pm

I must admit that I keep what I've got, and augment the pile occasionally.
If we've GOT to get rid of them, should we do "a Nick" and head for Beauforts Dyke, or maybr have a 'pyro-party' having first advised HMCG that the strange lights are the result of a safety demonstration...
The above metioned dyke is full of WD pyros, so anything we add will probably be negligable.
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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby MrMcP » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:26 pm

This may be a bloody obvious (read: stupid) question, but is this likely to mean chandlers stop taking yer old knackered ones when you invest in shiny new ones like they used to?

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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby Arghiro » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:41 pm

Pete Cooper wrote:[snip] Recently I have read of laser lights which may or may not be a replacement for flares. Are they any better?
I have never let a flare off in anger or otherwise, but it seems to me to be outdated technology - let's not forget the guy(who's name escapes me) who was doing a demo and was seriously hurt - I would imagine that the flare that caused the problem was in date and correctly deployed - but it still put him seriously injured in hospital for quite a while.
If my boat sinks I would not like to use something that may or may not cause further issues.
If I don't use flares they then become a problem to safely dispose of.


Laser lights have to be pointed at their target to be seen - & people have been prosecuted for pointing them at aircraft & choppers. Flares have complete 360 visibility & do not dazzle the rescuers. Don't forget you may not know where your potential rescuers are, they could be over the horizon. They will see a parachute flare but not a laser, even if it happened to be pointed in the right direction.

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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby aquaplane » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:03 am

It seems that you can let your flares off at Manchester derby football matches, just seen it on telly.
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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby So_Sage_of_Lorne » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:21 am

Personally speaking, I am not convinced by the laser flares. A few years ago, when laser flares were first available they tested one across Poole bay and found it difficult/impossible to spot.

The other problem is that it is not an officially recognised distress signal, so someone who sees it may not report the sighting. They aren’t SOLAS Approved, and so would you really want to use one in a distress situation? If they do get SOLAS Approval then it might be a different matter.

If I did have one, it would be in addition to flares – but VHF and EPIRB would still be the first things to get used.

Flares are coming in for more and more criticism these days, but it will be a long time before I go to sea without them.
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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby Nick » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:36 am

.
So what are your disposal arrangements for seriously out of date pyrotechnics?
- Nick 8)

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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby Gordonmc » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:32 pm

Trying to help the widow of a master mariner I offered to remove some well out-of-date para flares from her garage. Some were dated early 90's with the newest mid-80's. All were still in their original fibreboard containers and wax sealed aluminium caps.
After contacting the polis and coastguard I eventually got rid by taking them to a boat-jumble where a stall-holder was offering a free disposal service. I don't know if he will be caught up in the new arrangements.
If he can no longer take them I would have no problem in collecting TEPs from the Argyll area and dropping them off in Girvan, which is just down the coast from where I live.
Collection by arrangement if anyone is interested.
BTW, are flare-pistol cartridges still available anywhere?

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Re: Flare Disposal (Non-Fashion Items)

Postby Nick » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:36 pm

.

From the MCA website:
NOTES:
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.
(my italics)

Just spoke to Oban Lifeboat Station. They are no longer able to dispose of time expired pyrotechnics in Oban, they have to get them to Perth from whence they are taken to Poole. The CG used to take them but the Navy will no longer come and empty the explosives locker for H&S reasons. (Well, of course not - we can't have the navy playing with explosives, can we? - Ed.)

The RNLI are apparently campaigning for better provision, as they do not want to see a wholesale move away from the carriage of pyrotechnics on board vessels.

The HSE tell me I am allowed to store up to 5Kg net weight of fireworks type explosives without a license, which the applied rule of thumb equates to 20Kg gross weight of marine pyrotechnics, so I am not currently breaking the law by having these in my shed. If my house caught fire and the flares subsequently went off I am not confident that my buildings insurance would cover this though.

The new disposal points leave a huge gap between Stornoway, Cruden Bay, Forth and and Girvan, with Oban right in the middle. It's a four hour drive to any of these disposal points. (Plus a ferry to Stornoway!). I am not sure how happy my car insurance company would be with me transporting these items long distances, or what the position would be if they went off en-route subsequent to an accident or fire.

I think that at the very least all new flares should be required to carry a warning stating that they will be VERY difficult to dispose of legally once they become time-expired. Best practice would surely be if the retailer was made legally responsible for disposal. As it is civil servants, middle management and jobsworths everywhere have washed their hands of the problem, leaving Pains-Wessex and the others to carry on peddling a dangerous product with no sensible disposal route.

I can't help thinking a petition or letter writing campaign might be in order, anyone want to pick up the baton?

( Of course, nothing will be done until there is an unfortunate incident, then there will be a huge outcry and the usual search for scapegoats . . . )
- Nick 8)

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