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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 27 October 1994

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Public Opinion Surveys

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list each public opinion survey commissioned by (a) his Department and (b) his agencies since 1 October 1992, showing for each the subject, objectives, total cost, the period in which it was conducted and the organisation from which it was commissioned.

Mr. John M. Taylor: My Department commissioned a survey of public attitudes to the reform of the ground for divorce and procedures. This survey forms part of the Government's wider consultation on these matters and was conducted by Market and Opinion Research International Ltd. during the first quarter of 1994. A national survey of court users was commissioned from PAS Ltd. In August 1994 to gauge customer satisfaction levels in the court service and to help inform the formulation of standards for future courts charters. The cost of these surveys is regarded as commercially confidential.

Commonhold Property

Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he intends to introduce legislation to provide for commonhold tenure.

Mr. John M. Taylor: The Government intend to introduce this legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Public Appointments

Dr. Wright: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many public appointments (a) he is responsible for making and (b) require his approval including those not listed in "Public Bodies"; and if he will give this figure in terms of (i) appointments to executive bodies, (ii) appointments to advisory bodies and (iii) other appointments.

Mr. John M. Taylor: The Lord Chancellor is responsible for making:

14 appointments to executive bodies;

2,061 appointments to advisory bodies; and

20 other appointments.

He is responsible for approving 11 appointments to an advisory body.

This answer does not cover judicial appointments, the 223 quasi-judicial justices' clerks in the magistrates courts or ecclesiastical appointments. The figure for appointments to advisory bodies include 104 appointments to rule committees, where some of the membership is laid down by statute.


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Senior Salaries Review Body

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how the Government intend to implement recommendation 17 of the 1994 report of the Senior Salaries Review Body.

Mr. John M. Taylor: Recommendation 17 of the 1994 report of the Senior Salaries Review Body is that the Government should seek to achieve the salary levels for the judiciary proposed in the 1992 report of the Top Salaries Review Body, plus regular uprating, by 1 April 1999. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced the findings of the Senior Salaries Review Body on 3 February 1994, Official Report, columns 848 49. The Government have decided that the recommended salary levels should be achieved by spreading the increase evenly over the next five financial years, starting with 1 April 1995 and on 1 April thereafter to 1 April 1999.

DEFENCE

Army Base Repair Organisation

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on market testing in the Army Base Repair Organisation.

Mr. Freeman: A pilot market test of 18 Base Workshops at Bovington was won by the in-house bid team earlier this year. Since then, the Army Base Repair Organisation has completed a study which has concluded that there remains an excess of workshop capacity which needs to be addressed. This overcapacity results from a range of factors including the reorganisation of work load following earlier rationalisation, a reduction in the amount of equipment in the Army, increased reliability of modern equipment and improved repair techniques. The study has recommended that activity at the base workshop at Old Dalby, Leicestershire should cease, and that its work load should be transferred to other facilities. It recommended that the district workshop at Ashford, Kent should also cease operations and that its work load should be transferred either to other ABRO facilities or to industry. The study also recommended that the ABRO's wider market-testing programme should be restructured to take account of the proposed closures and to provide more scope for innovative proposals from industry.

Our intention is to begin consultation on these proposals with the relevant trade unions as soon as possible with a view to completing the ABRO withdrawal from Ashford by late 1995 and Old Dalby by late 1996. Final decisions will be taken in the light of this consultation.

If, in the event, withdrawal from the ABRO workshop at Old Dalby is confirmed after consultation, the MOD will first seek to establish whether there is another MOD use for the site and, in the event that there is not, I will seek actively, in co-operation with the local Member of Parliament, local authorities, staff representatives and the relevant local agencies to find an alternative use for the site and its facilities.

Copies of the consultation document are being placed in the Library of the House.


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Trident

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much of the projected capital cost of the Trident programme has been (a) spent to date and (b) committed to date.

Mr. Freeman: As at the end of June 1994, £7,401 million had been spent and £8,623 million committed on the Trident programme.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his Department's latest estimate of the outstanding capital cost of the Trident programme that will remain to be spent and committed by (a) April 1996 and (b) April 1997.

Mr. Freeman: At current prices and exchange rates, estimated outstanding capital spend and commitment on the Trident programme at April 1996 will be £1,416 million and £686 million respectively. It is not our practice to provide detailed forecasts of project costs more than two years in advance. By April 1997, however, we expect outstanding spend to be in the region of £1 billion and commitment to be somewhat in excess of £400 million at today's economic conditions.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his Department's latest estimate of the in-service date for the (a) second, (b) third and (c) fourth Trident submarines.

Mr. Freeman: The second Trident submarine is due to enter service towards the end of 1995 or early in 1996, the third in the late 1990s and the fourth around the turn of the century.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total expenditure to date on the purchase of the Trident D5 missiles from the United States.

Mr. Freeman: Some £596 million has been spent by the United Kingdom on the purchase of Trident D5 missiles from the United States.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Trident D5 missiles (a) have been purchased to date and (b) remain to be purchased.

Mr. Freeman: The United Kingdom has purchased 44 Trident D5 missiles to date. Final decisions have yet to be taken on how many more missiles will be purchased.

Defence Estimates

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which conventional force elements assigned to fulfil the nuclear aspects of defence role 1, "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1994", apart from the Tornado GR1s, are intended specifically to fulfil the sub-strategic role.

Mr. Soames: None.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the specific duties of the 12 regular infantry battalions assigned to the fulfilment of the nuclear role, under defence role 1, "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1994".

Mr. Soames: The role of the 12 regular infantry battalions referred to under military task 1.1 is to provide protection to the nuclear deterrent in time of tension, crisis and war.

Departmental Post

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on postage,


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and how many items have been posted by his Department, in each of the last five years.

Mr. Soames: Expenditure by my Department on postal services during the last five years is as follows:


             |£                        

---------------------------------------

1989-90      |12,090,996               

1990-91      |11,208,115               

1991-92      |8,511,910                

1992-93      |8,847,536                

1993-94      |8,537,031                

1994-95      |<1>3,745,595             

<1> to 24 October 1994                 

The costs are for items sent through the Royal Mail and do not include the cost of providing an internal mail service within my Department.

The number of items of mail moved by the defence postal service in the last five years, based on average bag-fill factors, is as follows:


              |Number                     

------------------------------------------

1990-91       |56,607,788                 

1991-92       |56,082,586                 

1992-93       |37,567,378                 

1993-94       |31,125,393                 

1994-95       |<1>28,687,836              

<1> estimate for whole year.              

Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the maritime rescue co-ordination centre at RAF Pitreavie to transfer to RAF Leuchars.

Mr. Soames: The rescue co-ordination centre at RAF Pitreavie Castle is expected to transfer to RAF Leuchars in the first quarter of 1996.

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what preparations have been made and at what cost for the transfer of the maritime rescue co-ordination centre from RAF Pitreavie to RAF Leuchars.

Mr. Soames: Planning work continues within my Department to determine the optimum accommodation, communications and information systems necessary to support the national military rescue co-ordination centre at RAF Leuchars. To date, no money has been spent on the transfer.

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the future of the maritime rescue co- ordination centre at RAF Pitreavie.

Mr. Soames: I have nothing further to add to the statement made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on the defence costs study, "Front Line First", on 14 July, Official Report , column 1172 .

Headquarters Transfer

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals he has to transfer the


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headquarters of the air officer commanding Scotland from RAF Pitreavie to RAF Leuchars.

Mr. Soames: We propose to transfer the post of Air Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland from RAF Pitreavie Castle to RAF Leuchars in December 1995.

Public Appointments

Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many public appointments (a) he is responsible for making and (b) require his approval including those not listed in "Public Bodies"; and if he will give this figure in terms of (i) appointments to executive bodies, (ii) appointments to advisory bodies and (iii) other appointments.

Mr. Soames: My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence approves 14 appointments to MOD executive non-departmental public bodies and 28 appointments to MOD advisory non-departmental public bodies. As for other public appointments not listed in "Public Bodies", I have nothing to add to the answer given to the hon. Member on 4 March, Official Report , column 938.

Hercules

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will delay any decision on replacement of the Hercules fleet until the result of the full feasibility study of the future large aircraft is available.


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Mr. Eastham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to await the results of the full feasibility study due to be available in the first quarter of 1995 by British companies for the pending order of the RAF Hercules aircraft.

Mr. Freeman: It would not be appropriate to delay a timely and cost- effective decision on the pressing operational needs of the Royal Air Force. The FLA is already being taken into account in our assessment.

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the date when he will make his decision concerning the replacement or otherwise of the Hercules transporter; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman: I hope to make an announcement on the way forward for the first tranche of the Hercules rolling replacement programme around the turn of the year.

Appropriation Accounts

Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will detail the accommodation provided to the Council of Voluntary Welfare Work, referred to in the other notes to class I, vote 1 of the Appropriation Accounts 1993 94.

Mr. Soames: A list of all accommodation made available to the Council of Voluntary Welfare Workers in British forces Germany during financial year 1993 94 is provided. The following list is divided into commercial and residential accommodation respectively.


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CVWW commercial accommodation financial year 1993-94                                                                                

Organisation                |Location                 |Usage                    |Rental £                                           

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Church Army                 |Sennelager               |Canteen/Bookshop         |6,269                                              

                            |Herford                  |Office/Stores            |2,359                                              

                            |<1>Minden                |Bookshop                 |706                                                

                            |<1>Hildesheim            |Bookshop/Flat            |4,016                                              

                            |Hameln                   |Club/Canteen             |13,278                                             

                            |<1>Hannover              |Bookshop/Office          |1,451                                              

                            |Osnabruck                |Bookshop                 |22,290                                             

                            |Osnabruck                |Bookshop/Canteen         |2,988                                              

                                                                                                                                    

Salvation Army              |<1>Munsterlager          |Bookshop/Canteen         |903                                                

                            |Herford                  |Office/Cellar            |3,012                                              

                            |Detmold                  |Club/Store               |9,000                                              

                            |Gutersloh                |Club                     |1,499                                              

                            |Iserlohn                 |Shop/Canteen             |703                                                

                            |<1>Lemgo                 |Shop                     |330                                                

                            |<1>Soest                 |Paper stall              |624                                                

                            |<1>Soest                 |Club                     |1,982                                              

                                                                                                                                    

TOC H                       |Paderborn                |Accommodation            |12,175                                             

                            |Paderborn                |Store                    |2,188                                              

                            |Munster                  |Club                     |1,243                                              

                            |Munster                  |Shop                     |649                                                

                            |Munster                  |Club                     |6,180                                              

                            |Herford                  |Offices                  |1,457                                              

                            |<1>Verden                |Bookshop                 |9,673                                              

                                                                                                                                    

YMCA                        |Herford                  |Offices                  |5,952                                              

                            |Bielefeld                |Shop/Office/Store        |4,942                                              

                            |Dortmund                 |Shop/Office/Store        |2,622                                              

                            |Dortmund                 |Bookshop                 |2,733                                              

                            |Celle                    |Bookshop                 |3,565                                              

                            |Hohne                    |Bookshop/Giftshop/Canteen|21,495                                             

                            |<1>Bergen                |Bookshop                 |820                                                

                            |Nienberg                 |Bookshop                 |3,475                                              

                            |<1>Bunde                 |Bookshop                 |1,671                                              

                            |Bunde                    |Shops                    |2,785                                              

                            |Osnabruck                |Bookshop/Canteen         |12,601                                             

                            |Dusseldorf               |Bookshop/Store           |6,501                                              

                            |Krefeld                  |Bookshop/Canteen         |2,862                                              

                            |Rheindahlen              |Cardshop                 |2,286                                              

                            |Rheindahlen              |Bookshop/Canteen         |26,250                                             

                            |Fallingbostel            |Bookshop/Canteen/Offices |19,558                                             

                            |Herford                  |Offices                  |2,273                                              

                            |Herford                  |Shop/Office/Store        |8,045                                              

                                                                                                                                    

CVWW                        |Herford                  |Offices                  |1,281                                              

                                                                                                                                    

Services Central Book Depot |Herford                  |Store                    |969                                                

                                                                                |-----                                              

Total                                                                           |237,661                                            

Note:                                                                                                                               

<1> Property handed back during financial year 1993-94                                                                              


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CVWW residential accommodation financial year 1993-1994               

Quarter Type  |Annual Rent £|Number       |Total Cost £               

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Type IV       |6,706        |8            |53,648                     

Type V        |5,642        |20           |112,840                    

D Type        |5,794        |2            |11,588                     

C Type        |3,880        |3            |11,640                     

B Type        |3,719        |5            |18,595                     

A Type        |3,189        |2            |6,378                      

                            |----         |----                       

                            |40           |214,689                    

Total value of waiver during financial year 1993-94: £452,350         

Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will name the (a) contractor and (b) RAF leases which led to the extra-contractual payment referred to in the notes to class I, vote 1 of the Appropriation Accounts 1993 94.

Mr. Soames: It is not my Department's practice to identify individual contractors where matters of commercial confidentiality are concerned. There were no leases involved in the case in question.


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Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) the contractors and (b) the circumstances which led to an extra- contractual payment of £11,750,000, as listed in the notes to class I, vote 3 of the Appropriation Accounts 1993 94.

Mr. Freeman: Individual contractors are not normally identified where matters of commercial confidentiality are concerned. The contractor had submitted claims against the Department in respect of alleged failures to meet obligations to supply equipment and information. These claims were disputed. However, following legal advice, the Department agreed to accept a share of responsibility for some of the delays and increased cost. The settlement, £19,000,000 payable over two years, was for approximately half the value of the total claim.

Mr. Mundie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give details of the gifts under £100,00 value recorded in class I, vote 2 of the Appropriation Accounts 1993 94.

Mr. Soames: The information requested is as follows:


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Number                                             |Description                                       |Value £                                           |Recipient                                                                                            

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

30                                                 |RN Flags                                          |10.00                                             |Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

3                                                  |Deck Plate, Honours Board Name Board-ex HMS Sirius|150.00                                            |Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Society                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

50                                                 |Liferaft Plastic Shells                           |100.00                                            |Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Bell-ex HMS Scylla                                |200.00                                            |City of Aberdeen                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Name Plate-ex HMS Osiris                          |40.00                                             |Kent and Sharp-Shooters Yeomanry Squadron                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Bell-ex HMS Cleopatra                             |250.00                                            |Fleet Air Arm Museum Yeovilton                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Honours Board- ex HMS Ambuscade                   |40.00                                             |Borough of Crewe and Nantwich                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Name Plate- ex HMS Ambuscade                      |40.00                                             |Sea Cadet Corps TS Amberconwy                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Name Plate- ex HMS Ambuscade                      |40.00                                             |Sea Cadet Corpos TS Ambuscade                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Marine Anchor                                     |450.00                                            |The Merchant Seamans War Memorial Society                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Name plate-ex HMS Opossum                         |40.00                                             |St. Edmundsbury Borough Council                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Honours Board- ex HMS Amazon                      |50.00                                             |North Tyneside Council                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Name Plate-ex HMS Arrow                           |40.00                                             |Sunderland Companions Club                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Gun Tampion-ex HMS Arrow                          |35.00                                             |4th Regiment Royal Artillery                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Deck Plate-ex HMS Arrow                           |50.00                                             |Harrow Combined Cadet Force                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Name Plate-ex HMS Arrow                           |40.00                                             |Royal Companion of Archers                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

2                                                  |Ships Bell and Honours Board-ex HMS Arrow         |300.00                                            |City of Sunderland                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Deck Plate-ex HMS Arrow                           |50.00                                             |The Royal Naval Association                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

4                                                  |Name Board, deck Plates- ex HMS Alacrity          |180.00                                            |Sea Cadet Corps TS Alacrity                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Flags-RAF and White Ensign                        |30.46                                             |Gibraltar Museum                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Anchor                                            |600.00                                            |Royal Burge of Culross                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |AVGAS Bowser                                      |1,600.00                                          |Portsmouth Naval Club                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Admiral's Barge                                   |6,000.00                                          |Portsmouth Property Trust                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |ACR 430 System                                    |10,000.00                                         |Albania                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

9                                                  |Anchors                                           |1,000.00                                          |FIFE Enterprise                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Humber Pig                                        |1,000.00                                          |Irish Museum                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |25 Pounder Gun                                    |2,000.00                                          |Luxembourg National Museum                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Ammunition                                        |84,092.00                                         |National Rifle Association Bisley Meeting-1993                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |AR Martel Missiles                                |30,000.00                                         |French Air Force                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

6                                                  |25 Pounder Guns                                   |6,000.00                                          |R A Museum                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Harrier GR3                                       |1,100.00                                          |Chilean Air Force Museum                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

2                                                  |25 Pounder Guns                                   |1,500.00                                          |Military Auster Flight                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Humber Pig                                        |1,000.00                                          |RAMC Museum Aldershot                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Saladin                                           |4,000.00                                          |RAC Tank Museum                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

3                                                  |Combat Support Boats                              |4,500.00                                          |WEU (Romania and Bulgaria)                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Transport for CSBs                                |32,000.00                                         |WFU (Romania and Bulgaria)                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Medical Stores                                    |1.00                                              |Latvia                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Harrier GR3                                       |1,200.00                                          |Belize Government                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |POL Equipment                                     |1.00                                              |Secondary School                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

2                                                  |Gliders                                           |5,000.00                                          |RAFGSA                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |1000 Rounds of Ammunition                         | 375.00                                           |Zimbabwe National Park                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Grand Projector                                   |150.00                                            |RAF Museum                                                                                           

1                                                  |Jet Provost Fuselage                              |150.00                                            |RAF Museum                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

1                                                  |Parachute                                         |298.00                                            |Russian Air Forces Museum-Ryaza                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

2                                                  |Film Drying Drum and Meteor Fuel Pump             |10.00                                             |RAF Museum                                                                                           

-----                                                                                                 |-----                                                                                                                                                   

147                                                                                                   |£195,722.46                                                                                                                                             

Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give (a) the name of contractor and (b) the circumstances which led to £1,175,000 payments as listed in the notes to class I, vote 3 of the Appropriation Accounts 1993 94; and what disciplinary action was taken.

Mr. Freeman: Individual contractors are not normally identified where matters of commercial confidentiality are concerned. Without admission of liability, a payment of £1,175,000, VAT included, was made to a contractor in respect of extra-contractual claims made against the Department. The claims were founded on the allegation that Government- furnished equipment had been provided late and in an unserviceable condition while Government- furnished facilities were not made available as planned. Disciplinary action was not considered to be appropriate in this case.

Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which naval base was involved and what was the gross cost of purchasing the property referred to in the order notices to class I, vote 1 of the Appropriation Accounts 1993 94.

Mr. Soames: The property referred to was purchased in connection with works at the Clyde submarine base. Some £203,500 was spent to purchase land to facilitate the construction of new mess and living accommodation at Faslane.

Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will detail the type of goods which led to £1,331,000 being lost as set out in the loss statement in class I, vote 2 of the Appropriation Accounts 1993 94; and what disciplinary action was taken.

Mr. Soames: The type of goods referred to form part of the marine engineering spares inventory and are wholly or mainly manufactured of rubber. The introduction of British standard 3574 in 1987 resulted in shorter shelf and working life periods for many rubber goods held at RNSD Eaglescliffe. A review which was carried out to test all rubber components against the new British standard revealed that a number of rubber items should be classified as non-conforming stock. An exhaustive study into this matter concluded that no blame could be attached to an individual or individuals in this case.

Atomic Weapons Establishments

Mr. Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now set up a full public inquiry into operations at the atomic weapons establishment.

Mr. Freeman: No. The Health and Safety Executive Review of the AWE was comprehensive and detailed. The AWE's response was published as part of the report and actions which accord with the recommendations form part of AWE's current safety development programme. A


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public inquiry would divert effort from the important safety improvement work now in hand.

Mr. Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he now expects to remove AWE's immunity from the licensing requirements of the Nuclear Installations Acts.

Mr. Freeman: Decisions will be taken in the light of discussions with the HSE on the timing and implementation of licensing.

Mr. Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution about safety at AWE following review by the Health and Safety Executive of AWE; and if he will ask Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution to carry out a similar review of AWE and publish the results.

Mr. Freeman: The HMIP, and also the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and, in the case of AWE Cardiff, the Welsh Office, routinely monitor AWE under the provisions of the relevant environmental legislation. They are independent regulators and judge for themselves appropriate timing for reviews and audits.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what response he has made to the recommendation made by the director general of the Health and Safety Executive in his recent report on the safety of atomic weapons establishments in respect of Crown immunity; and when and in what form, he expects to respond to the other recommendations.

Mr. Freeman: As I said to the House on 18 October 1994 during the defence debate, Official Report, column 240, we accept in principle the argument for licensing AWE Aldermaston and Burghfield under the provisions of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965, subject to discussions about timing the implementation. The report's other recommendations are addressed to the operating contractor, Hunting BRAE, and its response is incorporated into the HSE's report.

Rosehearty Test Range

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are for daily sound monitoring of the night-time sorties at the Rosehearty test range; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: There are no plans for sound monitoring of night-time sorties at the RAF air weapons range at Rosehearty.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are to extend night-time flying at the Rosehearty test range to other months of the year; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: There are no plans to extend night flying at the RAF air weapons range at Rosehearty beyond the period, from 1 May to 31 August, already proposed.


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Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what actions will be taken to protect fishing vessels in the vicinity of the Rosehearty test range following the extension to the operating times of the range; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: The present regulations governing the use of the air weapons range at Rosehearty allow fishing vessels to operate safely within the range danger area both during the day and at night. No further action is therefore necessary.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are for RAF officials to meet the residents of Rosehearty to discuss night-time bombing sorties; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: None. Public consultation on this issue is a matter for the local council. Officials from my Department and the local council met at RAF Lossiemouth in August when the RAF requirement for extended operating hours at the air weapons range, Rosehearty, was explained in full. Council officials were given every opportunity to raise any public concerns at that meeting.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what emergency procedures have been adopted in the event of an accident at the Rosehearty test range; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: The RAF requires all air weapons ranges to develop their own set of procedures for dealing with accidents in consultation with the appropriate local emergency services. Procedures in place at Rosehearty require the unit, in the event of an accident, to advise civilian emergency services and air traffic control at RAF Lossiemouth, render all possible aid at the scene of the accident and provide co-ordination assistance to the emergency and rescue services.

Pilot Training

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration has been given to the possibility of simulated night-time sorties for training pilots; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: A considerable amount of night-flying training is carried out by aircrew of all three services using flight simulators. As simulator technology improves, more night training will be undertaken using synthetic training devices. However, for safety and operational reasons, the requirement for some live night-flying training will always remain.

Bosnia

Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the outbreak of dysentery at Vitez army camp in Bosnia; whether the source of infection has been identified; and what action has been taken to eradicate it.

Mr. Soames: Between July and September 1994, some 250 soldiers in Vitez and the surrounding areas reported sick with diarrhoea. In the majority of cases no causative organism was identified, although some specimens revealed a mix of organisms including salmonella and shigella. No specific source was identified but the in-theatre British military environmental health inspector believed contributing factors to be: damaged sewage systems and inadequately maintained waste disposal


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facilities in the surrounding area; faecal contamination of a river running through the camp; hot water; a high incidence of disease-carrying insects; and poor hygiene practices among the troops.

As a result of his report, structural improvements were made to waste disposal systems, fly proofing was installed, food-handling and storage practices reinforced, water purification processes were checked and a theatre-wide campaign aimed at improving personal hygiene was introduced. The number of cases peaked in August and there have been no cases reported so far this month.


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