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Mr. A. Cecil Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many incidents of arrests of loyalist paramilitaries have occurred while pursuing criminally inspired acts in each of the last three years ; and how many individuals were involved in such arrests.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the major study on a blood test for bovine tuberculosis has been completed ; if he will publish the results ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram : The field study on a blood test for bovine tuberculosis is not yet completed. No decision has yet been made on whether the results should be published. It is not possible to anticipate the outcome of the study.
34. Mr. Dickens : To ask the Chairman of the Finance and Services Committee what financial provision is being made to enable the House of Commons kitchens to reflect present-day health and safety requirements.
Column 59be allocated in future years depending on the House's decision on the recent report of the Catering Committee on refreshment services for the House of Commons.
Sir Peter Hordern : In 1992-93 the National Audit Office delivered 51 major value-for-money outputs, which comprised about half the work of the NAO, and plans to continue deliveries at the same level in future. The selection of topics for investigation is based on a systematic review of expenditure and value for money. The NAO's investigations employ cost- benefit analysis techniques where appropriate, but it is not possible to isolate the costs of such analyses.
37. Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon- Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission what provisions has been made in the estimates for improving facilities for visitors to the House of Commons.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Lord President of the Council what proposals he has to implement the recommendations of the Select Committee on Sittings of the House ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 60and were the subject of examination by the Select Committee on Procedure in 1989 and 1991 ; in general they work well. Problems at the end of last year with the late arrival of certain Community documents are being investigated.
Mr. Fabricant : To ask the Chairman of the Catering Committee what were the receipts by the House of Commons Refreshment Department from the sale of wine for the three years up to and including 1993 ; what assumptions have been made in the House's estimate on receipts in future years ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Colin Shepherd : The House of Commons Refreshment Department does not record separately details of receipts from the sale of wine, although sales of alcoholic beverages are recorded and are included in the financial objectives for the Refreshment Department.
Mr. Michael J. Martin : Facilities available to disabled people visiting the House and arrangements for their reception when lobbying Members are described in leaflets available from the Serjeant at Arms which are also incorporated into the Members' Handbook. In addition, special arrangements are made whenever mass lobbies, including a significant number of disabled people, are expected. These arrangements have recently been reviewed by the Administration Committee and include, as appropriate, the use of Westminster Hall. Plans for the next such lobby on Wednesday 9 March are in hand. I understand that proposals to improve physical access to Parliament for disabled people are also being considered by the Accommodation and Works Committee.
Mr. Denham : To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission what assessment the Commission has made of whether the National Audit Office has sufficient staff effectively to monitor non-elected agencies.
Column 61approved by the Commission in July 1993. This includes provision for financial audit of Government Departments, executive agencies, including those expected to be established over the next five years, and other public sector bodies ; for inspection visits to a wide range of non-departmental and other public sector bodies ; and for value- for-money investigations.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many aircraft, and of what types, were involved in the Italian air force deployment to RAF Leeming during November 1993 ; which RAF squadron hosted the exchange visit ; what were the dates of the deployment ; how many low- level sorties were undertaken by Italian aircraft during the deployment, and at what minimum authorised altitudes ; and how many of these sorties included use of the Spadeadam range.
Mr. Hanley : Six AMX aircraft of the Italian air force deployed to RAF Leeming between 19 and 26 November 1993. The deployment was hosted by No. 11 Squadron RAF. The IAF booked eight low level sorties down to a minimum height of 500 ft ; four of the sorties included use of the range at RAF Spadeadam.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many aircraft, and of what types, were involved in the Italian air force deployment to RAF Waddington during September 1993 ; which RAF squadron hosted the exchange visit ; what were the dates of the deployment ; how many low-level sorties were undertaken by Italian aircraft during the deployment, and at what minimum authorised altitudes ; and how many of these sorties included use of the Spadeadam range.
Mr. Hanley : Six AMX aircraft of the Italian air force deployed to RAF Waddington between 6 and 10 September 1993. The deployment was hosted by the Wing Operations/Visiting Aircraft Section at RAF Waddington. The IAF booked 23 low level sorties down to a minimum height of 500 ft ; 21 of the sorties included use of the range at RAF Spadeadam.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the level of utilisation of RAF Spadeadam and access to the United Kingdom low flying system by Italian air force aircraft in the past year were related to the extent to which RAF aircraft deployed to Gioia del Colle, Italy, conduct low-flying training in Italian airspace.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role is performed by the Dutch air force 3 guided missile group in the air defence of the United Kingdom ; what role was performed by this unit during Exercise Hardcore 94 ; and what role the unit has performed in previous exercises involving Royal Air Force Harriers.
Mr. Hanley : The Dutch Air Force 3rd guided missile group does not have an assigned role in the air defence of the United Kingdom. During Exercise Hardcore 94 the unit was providing simulated target defences, as it has in previous exercises involving RAF Harriers.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the reasons why the location for Exercise Hardcore was switched from Norway to Scotland this year ; and what are his plans for holding further exercises in this series in Scotland.
Mr. Hanley : The exercise was never scheduled to take place in Norway. Exercise Hardcore is an annual exercise held in the United Kingdom. It will normally involve flying sorties in Scotland, subject to training requirements and prevailing weather conditions at the time.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the titles, locations and dates of all field training exercises in Germany involving British Army units of battalion size or larger, since 1988.
Mr. Hanley : A list of all field training exercises carried out in Germany since 1989 involving British Army units of more than 500 troops is given in the table. The information requested on exercises conducted in 1988 is no longer available.
Exercise name |Location |Start date |End date -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Polar Nomad 11/89 |Holz Minden |20 January 1989 |5 February 1989 Quick March 11/89 |Hameln |24 February 1989 |7 March 1989 Hungry Bear 13 |Holstein |5 July 1989 |21 July 1989 Treaty 89 |Herford |18 August 1989 |25 August 1989 White Rhino 89 |Munster |4 September 1989 |25 September 1989 Zodiac Rhino 89 |Steinfurt |6 September 1989 |9 September 1989 Morning Glory 89 |Hameln |2 September 1989 |10 September 1989 Galloping Bugle 89 |Lubbecke |18 September 1989|5 October 1989 Grand Canyon 89 |Steinfurt |28 September 1989|14 October 1989 Key Flight 89 |Osnabruck |1 September 1989 |30 September 1989 Garreg Wen 89 |Fallingbostel |12 October 1989 |27 October 1989 Noble Aries 89 |Paderborn |13 October 1989 |28 October 1989 Iron Wagon 3/89 |Bielefeld |15 October 1989 |28 October 1989 Kyrenia Curfew 89 |Iserlohm |9 November 1989 |18 November 1989 Hungry Mick |Helmstadt |24 September 1990|11 October 1990 Holstein Bugle |Hildeshein |31 August 1990 |21 September 1990 Mosquito Mick |Segeberg |7 September 1991 |30 September 1991 Moving Dragon 91 |Segeberg |4 October 1991 |20 October 1991 Quick March 1/91 |Segeberg |8 November 1991 |22 November 1991 Highland Monarch 91 |Holz Minden |11 November 1991 |22 November 1991 Roaring Dragon 92 |Harburg |6 March 1992 |26 March 1992 Twisted Spear 92 |Lubbecke |14 May 1992 |23 May 1992 Last Chance 92 |Eustkirchen |4 October 1992 |23 October 1992 Sussex Way |Northeim |9 November 1992 |18 November 1992 New Shield 92 |Gifhorn |16 November 1992 |27 November 1992 Rampant Rose 2/92 - |Segeberg |20 November 1992 |10 December 1992 Hungry Bear Forest Chase |Soest |1 March 1993 |25 March 1993 Kilted Warrior |Aachen |3 May 1993 |14 May 1993 Wet Gap |Hameln |4 September 1993 |20 September 1993 Hungry Bear 1/93 |Lubbecke |15 September 1993|24 September 1993 Hungry Bear 2/93 |Holz Minden |4 November 1993 |3 December 1993 Flame Thunder 94 |Hameln |6 April 1994 |26 April 1994 Flame Rocket 94 |Dortmund |6 May 1994 |21 May 1994
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many training man days were spent by British Army units on the Bergen training area, Germany, in each year since 1988 ; and if he will provide a breakdown of these figures into activity by (a) infantry, (b) armoured and (c) other units.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many training man days were spent by British Army units on the Soltau-Luneberg training area, Germany, in each year since 1988 ; and if he will provide a breakdown of these figures into activity by (a) infantry, (b) armoured and (c) other units.
Soltau-Luneberg area comparison of usage rates Year |Man/days |Tank/days |Light AFV/days|Gun/days |Wheels/days --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1988 |426,074 |20,203 |38,204 |681 |49,631 1989 |438,356 |16,503 |43,961 |960 |46,482 1990 |210,704 |9,245 |19,791 |1,405 |21,711 1991 |137,813 |6,142 |12,526 |80 |20,339 1992 |113,648 |4,885 |10,258 |292 |14,297 1993 |91,870 |4,900 |8,251 |504 |11,889
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the military units currently stationed in the Fallingbostel area ; and if he will list the principal equipment in use by these units.
The Queen's Royal Hussars--Challenger main battle tank.
1st Battalion The Cheshire Regiment--Warrior armoured combat vehicle.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the regulations concerning overflight of towns and villages by aircraft carrying live bombs (a) at low level and (b) at heights greater than 2,000 ft.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what laser designation support is currently provided by Royal Air Force Buccaneers to Dutch air force F-16s ; and if this task will be continued when the Buccaneer is replaced by the Tornado.
Mr. Hanley : RAF Buccaneers have provided laser designation support to Dutch air force F-16s during exercises since 1987. While there is no formal commitment, if required RAF Tornados equipped with thermal imaging airborne laser designator pods could offer a similar service.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy on authorising low flying at less than 250 ft during military exercises in the United Kingdom ; what changes have occurred in this policy since 1990 ; and if he will list each exercise which has involved flying at less than 250 ft since 1990.
Mr. Hanley : RAF aircraft are permitted to fly below 250 ft during military exercises in the United Kingdom provided that prior authorisation has been obtained from the air officer commanding of the group concerned. There have been no changes to this policy since 1990. Records of requests for operational low flying are not maintained on a basis which differentiates between exercise and non-exercise activity.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark), of 7 February, Official Report, column 117, if he will set out the criteria he uses to judge the scientific merits of the information on alleged Desert Storm syndrome ; and from which departments of the United States Government or other United States authorities he has received information.
Mr. Hanley : My Department has applied standard epidemiological and statistical criteria, universally employed by the medical profession when researching existing or possible new diseases, in judging the scientific merits of all information received relating to the alleged Desert Storm syndrome. The application of such criteria to information available to date has not identified any scientific evidence proving the existence of a new medical condition peculiar to service in the Gulf conflict.
Information originating in the United States and relating to the alleged Desert Storm syndrome has been received from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and from the Congressional record.
Mr. Hanley : Following reports from local trade unions, I have agreed that the consultation period for our proposals to close 14MU RAF Carlisle be extended to 31 March 1994. If closure is confirmed and there is no alternative defence use for, or likely former owner interest in the site, it will be offered for sale on the open market with the most favourable planning permission achievable so as to maximise the return to the taxpayer. Arrangements are already in hand for the disposal of areas of the site declared surplus before the announcement on 15 December 1993, Official Report, columns 739-40, of possible closure.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on refurbishment and upgrading of technical facilities over the past 10 years at (a) RAF Carlisle and (b) RAF Stafford.
Mr. Hanley : Because of changes in budgeting arrangements detailed financial records are not available for all elements of the programmes of refurbishment and upgrading of technical facilities undertaken over the past 10 years at RAF Stafford and Carlisle. Our estimate of expenditure is as follows :
Column 66(a) £28,000,000 at RAF Carlisle.
(b) £49,000,000 at RAF Stafford.
Mr. Hanley : It is proposed that hazardous storage, including the storage and preparation for disposal of low-grade radioactive material, primarily luminous paint, will be undertaken by a contractor on behalf of the RAF.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the Cranfield institute of technology study into the relative costs of freight distribution as between each of the current RAF equipment supply depots.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British forces currently serving with the United Nations in Bosnia- Herzegovina are equipped to deal with any situation which might arise should a full-scale conflict break out involving united United Nations ground forces.
Mr. Hanley : British forces are deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of UNPROFOR in support of the humanitarian relief effort. Their numbers and equipment reflect this role. Contingency plans for the safety of British troops are in place and could be activated at short notice, if it became necessary to safeguard or reinforce British troops for their own protection.
Ms Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to hold a public inquiry in connection with any proposals to increase military activity in the Northumberland national park.
Mr. Hanley : Any proposals relating to the further development of military facilities in the Northumberland national park will be subject to the formal planning consultation process as laid down in the Department of Environment circular 18/84.
Mr. Hanley : NATO's concept of maritime operations has been revised to reflect changes in the strategic environment. The emphasis has shifted from defence against the threat posed by the former Warsaw pact to promoting stability, peacekeeping and crisis management.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 27 January, Official Report, columns 396-97, to the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen), if he will place in the Library a copy of all papers relating to Operations Cauldron and Hesperus in 1952 and 1953, including a description of the pathogens used and the results of the experiments, plus the means of storage on land and at sea ; and if he will commission an independent inquiry into the hazards to the Scottish public from these and similar experiments.
Letter from Graham Pearson to Mr. Calum Macdonald, dated 21 February 1994 :
Parliamentary Question 35, Order Paper 14 February 1994
Column 681. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking about Operations CAULDRON and HESPERUS in 1952 and 1953 has been passed to me to reply as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment.
2. The papers relating to Operations CAULDRON and HESPERUS are classified and it would not be in the national interest to make these available as the information therein could be misused by states seeking to acquire a biological weapons capability. The pathogens used were as follows :