HC Deb 20 November 1995 vol 267 c18W
Dr. David Clark

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list the explosions, together with their dates, which have occurred at his Department's West Freugh military range in the last two years; [214]

(2) what activities are carried out at his Department's West Freugh military range; [216]

(3) if an investigation has been carried out into the explosion at his Department's West Freugh military range on 19 October; and if he will make a statement. [215]

Mr. Arbuthnot

These matters are for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. I have asked the chief executive, DERA to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from John Chisholm to Dr. David Clark, dated 20 November 1995: Your three questions regarding activities at the West Freugh range and the recent accidental explosion on 19 October have been passed to me to reply as Chief Executive of the Defence Research and Evaluation Agency (DERA) which includes the West Freugh site as part of the Defence Test and Evaluation Organisation (DTEO) division of the Agency. I am responding to all three questions in this letter. You asked for details of the activities carried out at the West Freugh site for a list of explosions that had occurred there in the last two years. The DTEO Weapons Range at West Freugh offers the capability to undertake weapon trials on a fully instrumented range with comprehensive customer support facilities. Trials can include both development and in-service activities in the fields of bombing, short range surface-to-air and air-to-surface missile firings, laser gun firings, weapon system designator, and explosive trials. There has been only one unplanned explosion at West Freugh in the last two years, that of 19 October 1995, in which two DERA personnel were injured. Your third question asked about an inquiry into the incident of 19 October. The Managing Director of DTEO has set up a formal Committee of Inquiry specifically to investigate the incident. This is currently gathering the detailed evidence to establish what happened and is making recommendations accordingly. We are also in touch with the Health and Safety Executive.