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Shoeburyness Ranges

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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If he will make a statement on the future use of the new ranges in Shoeburyness. [120545]

The Shoeburyness ranges are included in the long-term partnering agreement that has been negotiated with QinetiQ for the delivery of a long-term test and evaluation capability to the Ministry of Defence.

I offer my congratulations to the hon. Gentleman on his appointment. Has he had time to consider the impact of the many changes that have occurred in Shoeburyness recently, including the privatisation of the range facilities, the removal of MOD police from Foulness and the proposed house building on part of the site? Would he consider making time available in his busy diary to meet the military and civil defence staff there, and also representatives of the local community, in what I think he will appreciate is one of the most unique and significant MOD sites in the country?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his welcoming words. I can tell him that QinetiQ security service now oversees site security and may work, where necessary, in conjunction with both Essex police and Ministry of Defence police. As for a meeting, I shall be happy to meet the hon. Gentleman and his constituents, but I cannot undertake to do so in the immediate future because of the pressures on my diary in these first few days.