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Over-The-Horizon Radar

Volume 176: debated on Friday 13 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has as to the distance between ROTHR installations in Virginia and in the Aleutians; and if he will make a statement.

The transmit and receive facilities of the ROTHR installation in Virginia (which is not currently operational) are separated by 71 nautical miles; and those of the installation in the Aleutians are separated by 23 nautical miles. This distance is well below the theoretical minimum in open country, and operation of the Aleutians system is effective only because there exists a high mountain range between the transmit and receive sites.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the proposed over-the-horizon radar installation at St. David's airfield, Pembrokeshire is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation project or a US/UK project.

The proposed two-year trial of an over-the-horizon radar in the United Kingdom is a joint US/UK project.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the environmental impact assessments being undertaken as part of the planning application for an over-the-horizon radar installation at St. David's airfield will be published in their entirety when completed; and how much time will be available for consultation before the national park planning committee considers the planning applications.

Copies of the environmental impact assessment to be submitted to the Pembrokeshire coast national park authority in support of our formal notice of proposed development will be made generally available. In accordance with the procedures set out in Welsh Office circular 23/88, the authority will have 16 weeks in which to consider the proposals, in consultation with all interested parties.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what experiments he proposes to conduct in order to verify the survivability of the proposed over-the-horizon radar installation at St. David's airfield, Pembrokeshire against electromagnetic interference, nuclear, biological and chemical warfare.

We will be studying the design of the system and the detailed specifications of its hardware in order to determine the feasibility of introducing measures that may be needed to improve its survivability.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the terms of reference of the environmental impact assessments being undertaken by W. S. Atkins and the Robens institute on behalf of the Ministry of Defence in connection with proposed over-the-horizon radar at St. David's airfield, Pembrokeshire.

There are no such specific terms of reference, but W. S. Atkins has been commissioned to prepare an environmental impact assessment in accordance with the guidelines set out in Welsh Office circular 23/88.