§ Mr. Ainger
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many individual test firings of large calibre guns for the purposes of proof and evaluation took place on United Kingdom ranges operated by the Defence Evaluation Research Agency and its predecessor in each of the last five years; and what is the projected number in the current year and in each of the next five years; 192W
(2) what was the annual income for the proof and evaluation of large calibre gun firings to the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency and its predecessor in each of the last five years; and what is the projected income for the current year and each of the next five years. 
§ Mr. Spellar
[holding answer 3 February 1998]: This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). I have asked the Chief Executive to write to my hon. Friend.
Letter from John Chisholm to Mr. Nick Ainger, dated 10 February 1998:I have been asked to reply to your questions about the number of, and derived income from, test firings of large calibre guns at the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency's ranges over the last five years, for the current year and for the next five years. I am answering both questions in this letter.Data on the firing is collected as the number of firing days rather than actual rounds fired. While this information could be compiled from range and trials records it is not readily available. Numbers of rounds actually fired on a day vary greatly from one or two if the work is of an experimental nature, involving complex instrumentation, to over 100 for proofing type activities. Data on firing days for the past five years by range is:
Year Eskmeals Shoeburyness 1993 241 243 1994 206 245 1995 215 246 1996 228 225 1997 299 246
Both ranges have more than one firing site that could be in use on the same day.The future number of firing days depends on the long term requirements of the Ministry of Defence and other customers. While it is expected that work will reduce in this area over the next few years, large calibre gun firing will remain the dominant activity on the ranges.The income from large calibre gun firings since 1995 is given below. Information on a comparable basis prior to the inclusion of the ranges in the Trading Agency is not available.
- 1995–96: £4,024k
- 1996–97: £3,367kThe projected income for the current year, 1997–98, is £6,376k. Future income will depend on the requirements of the Ministry of Defence and other customers for the facilities but an income of £4,970k is expected for 1998–99.I hope this information is helpful.