HC Deb 18 April 2002 vol 383 cc1134-5W
Mr. Key

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the ENVISAT project. [50853]

Ms Hewitt

ENVISAT, Europe's latest Earth Observation satellite, was successfully launched on 1 March. The £1.4 billion satellite will provide vital information about global warming, climate change and the depletion of the ozone layer. ENVISAT is the most complex Earth Observation satellite ever built, carrying 10 instruments which are able to detect environmental change to an unprecedented accuracy.

The UK Government has invested £300 million in the project, which has been steered by the British National Space Centre (BNSC) in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and UK industry. 12 UK firms have played a vital part in the development and construction of ENVISAT, with many more standing to benefit from exploitation of ENVISAT's data in downstream sectors.

ENVISAT has reached its correct orbit and is delivering valuable data back to Earth for use by environmental researchers. Such data will provide a health check of our planet. It will monitor changes in the oceans, ice caps, vegetation and our atmosphere and its findings will underpin the future development of environmental policy.

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