Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)

We are Britain's leading expert in the management of the risk posed by unexploded ordnance - both on land and in water.

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Igne (previously BACTEC & SafeLane Global)

We support your engineering, construction or infrastructure project by identifying and mitigating your risk of encountering legacy unexploded ordnance (UXO)

Our core services can be broken down by the four stages of Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) C681 guidelines.



What is unexploded ordnance (UXO)?

Unexploded ordnance (abbreviated to UXO or UXB (unexploded bombs)) is explosive ordnance, such as grenades and bombs, that failed to detonate correctly.  In the United Kingdom, UXO typically originates from faulty German World War II bombs that failed to explode, from abandoned or unexploded allied ordnance, or munitions from army training sites (e.g., firing ranges). 

It is estimated that approximately 10% of bombs dropped during World War II failed to detonate correctly, and, as such, lay dormant across the UK.


How can the risk of UXO be mitigated?

Igne offers a wide range of UXO risk mitigation services which can be seen below.  Our services are all-encompassing, meaning that we can offer you everything from the preliminary reports that detail the likelihood that UXO exists on your site, down to the final disposal and clearance of UXO, making the risk on your site as low as reasonably possible (ALARP).

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Stage 1

Preliminary Risk Assessments:

Using data from a unique nationwide geospatial database of unexploded ordnance risk factors, Igne can produce the most reliable and trustworthy preliminary risk assessment available in the UK.

This preliminary unexploded ordnance (UXO) risk assessment enables you to make informed decisions about the potential UXO risk affecting your land site or marine project.  A preliminary risk assessment allows you to evaluate and implement the required procedures to reduce the risk on your construction project.

Stage 2

Detailed Risk Assessments:

A detailed risk assessment provides a bespoke, site-specific, comprehensive report on the potential risk posed by UXO to proposed works.

All research is based on a site’s location, the potential extent of contamination, the source and nature of likely UXO, as well as the likelihood and consequence of encountering UXO related to the proposed use of a site. If an elevated risk of encountering UXO during the proposed works is identified risk mitigation measures will be recommended to reduce the threat to ALARP level.

Stage 3

Risk Mitigation Measures:


Non-intrusive unexploded ordnance (UXO) surveys are utilised on greenfield sites to detect ferrous anomalies in the ground – which could be munitions, bombs or other dangerous threats.

Non-intrusive surveys can either be pedestrian (meaning they are carried out by two people walking over the ground with detection equipment) or towed (towing a sensor trailer with an all-terrain vehicle (ATV)).  Ground conditions, terrain and the amount of ground that needs to be covered will dictate which method is best suited to your project.

Non-intrusive surveys are a quick and effective way of surveying a site ahead of shallow intrusive works. On construction sites where there is a risk of encountering deep buried unexploded ordnance, and where intrusive works such as piled foundations are planned, intrusive surveys will be undertaken to detect ferrous anomalies at depth ahead of piling or borehole drilling.


Intrusive surveys for UXO are normally undertaken using magnetometers. Igne has two proprietary methods for conducting intrusive surveys for its clients:

  • Pushing magnetometers into the ground using a CPT rig and hydraulic rams; this is known at Igne as the BXP methodology.
  • Lowering down-hole magnetometers into boreholes formed using a rotary drill This is referred to as the TFG methodology at Igne.

BXP rigs are bigger and can cover more ground faster than a TFG rig, but TFG rigs can get through harder ground and can be used in confined spaces.

Your Igne consultant will assess your site and make the most appropriate recommendation, taking into account all considerations including your project timelines and financial constraints.

Scanning for UXO unexploded ordnance

Risk mitigation of uxo with specialist equipment

Igne conducting a non intrusive survey for risk mitigation of unexploded ordnance

Stage 4

Implementation Plan:

It is important to ensure the selected risk mitigation plan is carried out correctly and efficiently and that the works have been completed to a satisfactory level. Igne can deliver UXO emergency response plans as well as full UXO mitigation & implementation plans for complex sites and operations.

Our Consultancy services can support you with expert industry guidance, peer review of third-party assessments & surveys, scoping of operations & survey designs, technical reviews and development of project documentation.

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Igne also offers the full suite of EOD services

EOD watching brief

In areas where the ground conditions are not suitable for pro-active surveys, EOD on-site support can provide a reactive response to any suspicious object that may be encountered during open excavation works.

If a suspicious item is unearthed or detected, the EOD engineer will carefully assess it, confirming whether or not it is UXO.  This saves you, the client, time and money.  Works on your site will not have to be halted or postponed whilst waiting for an on-call EOD expert to arrive.

If the unearthed item is indeed UXO, the EOD engineer will then identify whether the item of UXO is live or inert.

Accordingly, necessary, pre-defined safety precautions will then be enacted, and all members of the site will be notified of the discovery.

The item of UXO will then be removed from the site or safely disposed of so that works may swiftly continue.

UXO disposal

Igne holds all necessary licenses, permissions and authority to conduct UXO survey, investigation, storage, collection and disposal by explosive means as required in the UK. Igne will provide an all-in solution including the preparation of safe demolition and storage areas, provision of all licensing, liaison with local authority, procurement of explosives and all paperwork required to ensure that a safe system of works is in place, including the standard operating procedures and demolition plan.

Search & clear operations

Some sites and environments may not be suitable for survey operations (eg. dense wooded areas).  In this case, Igne will undertake manual search & clear operations.

This involves manually and methodically scanning a site or area of a site using a handheld detector to ‘search’ for UXO. 

If any ferrous anomalies are detected, they are carefully excavated and investigated to ascertain whether they are UXO.  If the excavated anomaly is UXO, Igne will then identify whether the ordnance is live or inert.

After identifying the item of UXO, Igne can then ‘clear’ the ordnance by either safely defusing/detonating it on-site, removing it from the site to a remote location, or by contacting the Metropolitan Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit.

Target Investigation

Following a survey (non-intrusive or intrusive), buried anomalies that cannot be discounted as potential UXO will need to be investigated to positively identify the items. A combination of manual and mechanical excavation techniques will be employed to unearth the potential UXO enabling a specialist EOD team to identify the items correctly.

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UXO Training

Igne also offers a range of bespoke UXO related training courses, which can be customised depending on your requirements.  These can be delivered directly to your site or office by one of Igne’s highly qualified Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) experts.


Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Training

Igne also offers a range of bespoke UXO related training courses, which can be customised depending on your requirements.  These can be delivered directly to your site or office by one of Igne’s highly qualified Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) experts.


UXO Toolbox Briefs

These briefings are intended to make site operatives aware of the nature of explosive ordnance that may be encountered on their project site. Delivered by a specialist Explosive Ordnance Disposal Engineer, these briefs cover the site specific explosive ordnance risk, basic ordnance identification and what to do in the event of an encounter with a suspicious object.


Site Specific Safety Instructions (SSSIs)

Igne’s SSSI package is delivered to your management team, but is designed with the purpose that the information within it being disseminated to all relevant site personnel. Therefore, if ordnance is discovered on your site, all site personnel will know how to respond appropriately. The training  includes ‘planning and response’, ‘safety awareness’ site induction training for new staff and details on what to do if ordnance is discovered.

Our UXO courses


Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Actions on a Find

This is part one of two counter-IED training courses offered by Igne's training providers. 

It briefs attendees to the categories of a potential find; the principles that govern the actions of the finder (3 Cs and 3 Ws) and it includes critical information such as minimum evacuation distances. It can be taken alone, or combined with methods of attack.


Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Methods of Attack

In this particular briefing, attendees receive an overview of the different methods of attack employed by a terrorist, and it increases attendees’ levels of awareness of the threat.


Unexploded Ordnance Safety & Awareness

This is essential for all construction and infrastructure workers and exceptionally useful for emergency first responders.

It can make all the difference in the event of the discovery of a suspicious item that could potentially be ordnance.

The focus of the presentation is the site safety precautions and actions that must be taken if a suspicious object is found during the course of works.


Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Methods of Attack

In this particular briefing, attendees receive an overview of the different methods of attack employed by a terrorist, and it increases attendees’ levels of awareness of the threat.

For more information regarding any of our unexploded ordnance (UXO) solutions, contact Igne today