Counter Pollution Unit
H.M. Coastguard


Key Facts

Short Name:
Nickname: unknown
Main Role: Maritime chemical pollution control
Secondary Role: -
First Formed: 1982
Parent Unit: HMCG HQ
Current Status: Active


On 4 May 1982 Southend-based crop-spraying and charter operator Harvestair (also known as Harvest Air) was awarded an oil pollution control and spraying contract for the Department of Trade. As a result, the Marine Control Unit was formed and for this purpose, several BN-2A Islanders were obtained, specially converted for this role and based at Exeter, Prestwick and Kinloss. Two Douglas Dakotas were also acquired and adapted as heavy spray tankers. Following the untimely death of the company’s founder and MD, Nigel Brendish, in a light aircraft accident during September 1987 the company went into liquidation and the DoT contract was transferred to Air Atlantique in the following month.

Air Atlantique initially used three BN-2A Islanders and a couple of Dakotas for the pollution control task, but as more Dakotas were acquired, the Islanders were assigned to other duties.

On 20 July 2000 a new 10-year pollution control contract was placed with Air Atlantique, for both air surveillance and spraying reponse aircraft. The contract required the provision of a new Cessna 406 surveillance aircraft equipped with SLAR, 2 Lockheed L-188 Electra spraying aircraft able to respond within 4 hours of a pollution report, and a Cessna 406 to be based at Inverness modified for spraying work.

Compared to the Dakotas, the bigger and faster Electras were able to deliver more chemicals to the required location sooner. The spray attachment for the Electras was specially designed by Air Atlantique and can fitted or removed relatively quickly – allowing the aircraft to fly normal revenue-earning cargo charter contracts when not required for pollution control. Air Atlantique (Atlantic Aviation Ltd) is now known as Reconnaissance Ventures Ltd (RVL).

Subordinate Units



Type Qty Service Example Serials
BN-2A Islander 5 mid 1982 – Oct 1987 G-BJWM, BJWN, BJWP (Harvestair)
Douglas DC-3 Dakota 2 1982 – Oct 1987 G-AMPZ, AMYJ (Harvestair)
BN-2A Islander 3 Oct 1987 – 1990 G-AXZK, BCEN, BNXA (Air Atlantique)
Douglas DC-3 Dakota 7 Oct 1987 – 2000 G-AMPO (Air Atlantique)
Lockheed L-188 Electra 2 2000 – Present G-LOFE (Atlantic Air Transport)
Cessna F406 Caravan II 1 2000 – Present G-LEAF? (Atlantic Air Transport)

Unit Markings



Main Bases

Base Duration
Southend Airport, Essex mid 1982 – Oct 1987
Coventry Airport, Warks. Oct 1987 – Present


None at present.

More Information


  • Aviation News September 2003

Other Sources

To be added.

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