§ Mr. Jenkin
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what provision he has made for the monitoring of the effects of increase solar radiation on satellite and mobile communications systems that are required for the safety of airlines and ships at sea; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Mullin
[holding answer 6 March 2000]The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is conducting research into the effects of solar radiation on satellite and other600W communications equipment. It also issues warnings when it is predicted that solar flares and other solar events are likely to affect communications equipment.
Neither the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) nor the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is specifically monitoring the effects of increases in solar radiation on radio communications. However, any incidents which affect the safety of any aircraft in UK airspace or a UK registered aircraft will be reported to the CAA. This would include incidents caused by solar radiation interfering with radio communications.