United Kingdom

Last updated: 18 December 2019


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) became a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty on 1 March 1999, and national legislation implementing the treaty entered into force the same day.

The UK served as co-chair of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies from 1999–2000, and as coordinator of the Sponsorship Programme for many years. More recently, the UK served on the Committee on Cooperative Compliance from 2016–2018 and the Committee on Enhancement of Cooperation and Assistance since 2018. The UK was also Vice President of the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in November 2018.

The UK has attended most meetings of the treaty, including the Third Review Conference in Maputo in December 2014. More recently, the UK attended the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018, where it reported on its clearance efforts in the Falkland Islands/Malvinas and requested a clearance deadline extension request until 2024, which was granted. It also highlighted its support for mine action in nine countries from 2014–2018.[1] The UK also attended the treaty’s intersessional meetings in May 2019, where it again provided an update on clearance activities.[2]

The UK is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines. The UK is not party to Protocol V on explosive remnants of war.

Production, transfer, stockpile destruction, and retention

The UK completed destruction of its stockpile of more than two million antipersonnel mines on 19 October 1999.

Initially, the UK retained close to 5,000 mines for training purposes, but decided in 2003 that the number was excessive and reduced it to less than 2,000. In 2018, the UK announced that its previously reported 724 antipersonnel mines retained for training were inert munitions not subject to the convention, and thus has zero mines retained for training or research.[3]

Production of antipersonnel mines in the UK was not prohibited until entry into force of the treaty on 1 March 1999, although some manufacturers had ceased production earlier. The UK’s first Article 7 report stated that production facilities had been converted or decommissioned.[4] The partial export moratoria of 1994 and 1995 were made comprehensive in 1996. Imports were banned in May 1997.

The UK was previously a major producer and exporter of antipersonnel mines, with at least four major manufacturers producing five types of antipersonnel mines.[5] The UK was described in 1993 as one of the “top 10” exporters of antipersonnel mines and a primary source of advanced mine technology. British antipersonnel mines have been found in many mine-affected countries, including Afghanistan, Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Mozambique, and Somalia, and were also exported to other countries. Mines were also imported from Canada, France, and the United States.

[1] Statement of the United Kingdom, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 26 November 2018.

[2] Statement of the United Kingdom, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 22 May 2019.

[4] Article 7 report, Form E, 26 August 1999. This refers only to production facilities for the HB876 (decommissioned in 1991) and Ranger (decommissioned by 1994).

[5] The major producers and types produced were: Thorn EMI Electronics (Ranger mines), Royal Ordnance (L1E1 and No. 6 mines), British Aerospace/Royal Ordnance (L9 bar mine), Hunting Engineering (HB876). Other companies also produced mine components. See, Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 683–684.