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News - 16/11/20

Marine flare explosion at Island waste management park

As reported by the Isle of Wight Council last week, a marine flare left out with normal household waste caused an explosion at the Council’s Forest Road waste plant. Fortunately, the incident was contained immediately by staff on site and nobody was injured.

The Isle of Wight Council’s Waste and Environment Manager, Natasha Dix, explained: “Somebody had put out a marine distress flare with general waste, and this ignited when it was going through the recycling machinery at the Forest Road plant. There are a few things that are too dangerous to be put in the general recycling, and so we ask people to keep our operatives safe, and not put out old batteries, or pyrotechnics such as marine flares. 

“Marine flares contain explosives, and really should not be put in any waste or recycling. Luckily this flare went off in an area of the plant away from our staff and contractors, and the plant is now working as normal following a clean-up. But had it ignited elsewhere this could have been a far more serious incident.”

Cowes Harbour Commission is in talks with the Solent Coastguard on a potential local solution for boat owners in Cowes with marine flares to dispose of, but in the interim, please take note of the following advice:

• Damaged or out-of-date flares should never be used. They should be disposed of safely as soon as possible.

• It is the responsibility of anyone with expired flares to arrange for their safe disposal, which may incur a cost.

• In the first instance users should contact the original supplier to see if they will take them back.

• The Coastguard may be able to advise on disposal options. NMOC is the nearest Coastguard centre to the Isle of Wight and can be contacted on 02392 552100.

• A company called Ramora UK works alongside the Coastguard to dispose of expired flares.

• Hampshire Police no longer accept expired marine flares, and these should not be taken to any Isle of Wight police station.