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Royal Artillery Range, Hebrides

Volume 124: debated on Monday 14 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many days in each year since 1979 missile firings on the royal artillery range, Hebrides, were postponed or cancelled due to the presence of air traffic or shipping in the range area.

We are not aware of any instances of range closure due to air traffic. However, the range was closed for a four-day period due to a protest about EEC fishing regulations by local fishermen.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the impact of the establishment of a new recommended route for oil tankers of more than 10,000 tons gross weight to the west of the Western Isles will have on the frequency of cancellation or postponement of missile firings from the royal artillery range, Hebrides.

The range radar and computer systems are designed to take account of vessels moving through the range area and the movement of oil tankers should not therefore affect range firings.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on how many days in each year since 1975 the royal artillery range, Hebrides, danger area known as D701A was active;(2) on how many days in each year since 1975 the royal artillery range, Hebrides, danger area known as D701 was active.

Danger areas D701 and D701A were active for an average of 79 and 22 days respectively in each year since 1977; records are not available for 1975 and 1976.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many firings have been made on the royal artillery range, Hebrides, in each year since 1975, of (a) Lance, (b) Rapier, (c) Blowpipe, (d) Sea Eagle, (e) Harpoon, (f) Sub-Harpoon, (g) Martel, (h) Sea Wolf, (i) ALARM, (j) Skyflash, (k) Javelin, (l) Sea Dart and (m) Sparrow missiles.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) service personnel, (b) civilian staff from his Department and (c) contractors' personnel are currently employed at the royal artillery range, Hebrides.

Two hundred and ninety-four service men, 196 civilians and 100 contract personnel, including personnel involved in contracted-out services, are employed on the RAF range, Hebrides.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many representations have been received from owners and operators of civilian vessels, in each year since 1979, concerning continued firing of missiles on the royal artillery range, Hebrides, while vessels were present in the range danger area.

We are not aware of any such representations. For safety reasons, firing would not take place if vessels were present in the danger area.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the purpose of the visit to the royal artillery range, Hebrides, of a United States army general in the autumn.