HC Deb 04 February 1988 vol 126 cc716-7W
Mr. Stott

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to transfer weather satellites to the private sector.

Mr. Sainsbury

No. The Ministry of Defence has no weather satellites of its own. The United Kingdom is one of 19 participating nations in the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). Each nation is represented by its national meteorological service. In addition, the Meteorological Office is involved with United States Government agencies in research, development and provision of certain types of sounding instruments for installation on United States polar-orbiting satellites, the data from which are beneficial to Meterological Office forecasting. Private industry is making some contribution to this instrument development programme in the expectation of industrial benefits from the production of further units. Basic satellite and other global weather observations are collected and exchanged internationally free of charge under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organisation; direct private sector participation would therefore not be appropriate.