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The flare and colour spots are going to definitely be caused by that UV filter, especially if you are seeing them during backlit situations.
Basically, the bright light reflects, a little bit, off the UV filter, creating a ghosting effect. You will see it more in backlit situations because the bright light will ghost onto a darker part of the picture making it easier to see.
The ghosting is likely there on brighter pictures, but it's going to be nearly impossible to see because the ghost image is sitting on top of a brighter part of the picture.
I'm not using a lens hood would this help reduce the flaring?
Maybe a little bit. But probably not much. Your best bet would be to remove the UV filter during backlit shots.
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I wondered if that would be your suggestion. Will give it a go. I thought I'd done something dreadful and damaged the sensor.
No. Nothing quite that serious luckily. You have a great day. Please don't forget to rate my answer positively.