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Radar Transmitter, Pembrokeshire

Volume 171: debated on Tuesday 1 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what factors dictated the location of the proposed over-the-horizon radar transmitter on the site of the former St. David's airfield, Pembrokeshire.

The principal factors dictating the location of the proposed over-the-horizon radar transmitter were the need for it to be situated on broadly the same latitude as the receiver but separated by a substantial distance; and the need to ensure that, together with the safety exclusion zone that surrounds it, it could be comfortably accommodated within the boundary of an existing MOD site without affecting other activities at that site. After a survey of 166 possible sites throughout the United Kingdom, St. David's airfield was selected as the only suitable location for the transmitter, in conjunction with the only suitable location for the receiver at Blakehill radio station, Wiltshire.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who will supply the transmission equipment for the proposed over-the-horizon radar transmitter on the site of the former St. David's airfield, Pembrokeshire.

The equipment for the trial of an over-the-horizon radar in the United Kingdom will be supplied by the United States Government.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there will be any radioactive emissions from the proposed over-the-horizon radar transmitter on the site of the former St. David's airfield, Pembrokeshire.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has concerning the interference to the operation of the United States Air Force base at Robins air base, Georgia, by the installation of an early-warning radar station in the vicinity; and what steps he will take to ensure that his proposed installation of an over-the-horizon radar transmitter on the site of the former St. David's airfield, Pembrokeshire will not similarly affect the operation of RAF Brawdy and the United States naval facility at Brawdy.

The operation of the United States Air Force base at Robins air base, Georgia, is a matter for the United States Government. I understand, however, that the function and characteristics of radars situated in the vicinity of Robins air base are completely different from those of the planned over-the-horizon radar transmitter to be sited at St. David's airfield. The Ministry of Defence is satisfied that the installation of this radar will have no adverse effect on operations at RAF Brawdy.