§ Mr. Boscawen
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action is being taken to provide the support required to enable the Hydrographer of the Royal Navy to carry out more quickly the task of surveying the 95 per cent. of the United Kingdom Continental Shelf which has not yet been covered by modern sonar surveys, in response to new developments in merchant shipping characteristics.
§ Mr. Clinton Davis
Interested Departments, including my own, are discussing ways in which the Hydrographer of the Royal Navy can be helped to discharge his traditional responsibilities, taking into account the fact that Departments are having to reduce their expenditure. The Hydrographer has a continuing task to perform in surveying United Kingdom waters in response to new developments in shipping characteristics; and, in this regard, there is close collaboration between the Ministry of Defence and my Department. Additionally, the Department of Industry, on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade, has continued to develop and pay for a new high definition scanning sonar for the Ministry of Defence, which will greatly enhance the Hydrographer's survey capabilities. The prototype will shortly become available.