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Radar Satellites

Volume 537: debated on Thursday 8 December 2011

10. What assessment he has made of the benefit to UK business of the investment in low-cost radar satellites announced in the autumn statement. (85401)

Yes, we have made an assessment of the benefits to business of investing in low-cost radar satellites. This is an important investment of £21 million, which we hope will enable business investment to follow on, including possibly in my hon. Friend’s constituency.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Earth observation satellites are critical in helping developing countries manage humanitarian and environmental crises. Does my right hon. Friend see merit in giving such countries British technology or satellite time—provided it is the best for the job, and it usually is—rather than having ring-fenced funding to purchase such services from a third country?

That is a very interesting idea. It is absolutely right that British satellite technology plays a greater role than is recognised in ensuring that we have information about the sites of disasters. Earlier this year we chaired the disaster monitoring committee, which ensured that satellite images were immediately available after the tsunami in Japan and after disasters elsewhere in the world. There are certainly imaginative ideas through which this role could be enhanced.