§ Mr. Greenway
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when RAF Staxton Wold was first identified as a radar station suitable for downgrading to remote operation only; 
(2) when he was first advised that RAF Staxton Wold should be downgraded to remote operation. 
§ Mr. Spellar
[holding answer 18 April 2000]I understand that formal consideration of the possibility of remote operation of the radar at RAF Staxton Wold was first given during the Departmental budgetary planning process which culminated in February 1997. This option was not pursued because a wider review of the then UK Air Defence Ground Environment (UKADGE) was started during the Strategic Defence Review.
Ministers in this Administration have never been advised that the radar at RAF Staxton Wold should be downgraded to remote operation. My predecessor was, however, advised in July 1998 that it would be possible to draw down the Station to minimum manning. Since the overall review of the UKADGE (now Air Surveillance and Control System—ASACS) was still being carried out at the time, he wished to await the outcome of this work and consider any wider implications before making a decision. I wrote to the hon. Gentleman on 9 August 1999 as soon as I had taken a decision (subject to consultation) on our plans for RAF Staxton Wold.