Mr. Thomason: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what arrangements are being made for the future appointment of permanent secretaries following the White Paper, "The Civil Service: Continuity and Change".
Mr. David Hunt: The White Paper made clear in paragraph 4.24 that, as vacancies arise at this level, the arrangements for identifying candidates, either through internal procedures or by open competition, will be considered on a case by case basis by addressing a number of "prior questions". Appointments to a number of permanent secretary vacancies which will arise next year have now been addressed in this way. Those in the Department of Employment and the Central Statistical Office will be made following open competition. The appointment of the Permanent Secretary, Office of Public Service and Science will be made following consideration of candidates across the civil service as a whole.
Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the amount of the French contribution to the large hadron collider project at CERN which is in dispute; and what impact this amount makes on the project.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: The United Kingdom and German Governments, with the support of other CERN member states, are seeking an appropriate additional contribution to the large hadron collider--LHC--project from France which properly reflects the considerable benefits they derive from hosting CERN. A host state contribution of 10 per cent. of a project's cost is the norm for such large international facilities such as CERN.
Accordingly we have asked the host states, France and Switzerland, to consider making an additional contribution of 290 million Swiss francs towards a construction cost of 2.9 billion Swiss francs. At present the sum offered by the host states falls significantly short of this amount. Negotiations are continuing to find a satisfactory settlement.
Detailed analysis, endorsed by CERN management, suggests there is a significant funding gap if the LHC is to be completed by 2005. Any shortfall in the contribution from host states would have to be made up by further cuts at CERN or increased contributions from other sources.
Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will give the reasons why the decision on the large hadron collider project at CERN is being held up; and if he will make a statement.
Column 144before giving formal approval for the project to go ahead, a fair and sustainable financial framework must be established. Such a framework must include the acceptance of tight cost control mechanisms and an appropriate additional contribution from the host states, France and Switzerland, in recognition of the considerable benefits which they have derived, and will continue to derive, from the location of CERN at Geneva.
Negotiations with CERN management and other member states have been progressing and in the last few months good progress has been made. We hope to be able to secure the basis for agreement before the next CERN Council meeting in December.
Mr. Soames: The Defence Clothing and Textiles Authority became Defence Agency of the Ministry of Defence on 22 November 1994. The DCTA, although an organisation with tri-service responsibilities, is presently part of the Quartermaster General's department within the Army. It comprises a small headquarters at Andover and a number of interlocking business functions across the country; it employs a total of 447 staff comprising 13 military and 434 civilian staff. The primary role of the DCTA is to provide an agreed range of clothing and textile products to meet the operational needs of the MOD and other defined customers within agreed standards, and in the most cost effective manner.
As the first chief executive, Brigadier R. H. T. Kirby CBE will be offered new opportunities to build on the current organisation's professional expertise and high performance standards. Through a more commercial approach, the chief executive will actively seek to improve the efficiency and value for money of his organisation and thereby fulfil the agency's aim of providing its customers with an efficient service which offers the best value for money.
The chief executive has been set the following key targets for financial year 1994 95:
1. To achieve 80 per cent. availability of stock from shelf. 2. 80 per cent. of research and development milestones to be met by the due date and within budget.
3. 80 per cent. of procurement to meet total planned lead time for delivery.
4. To develop the framework for a full customer satisfaction survey.
5. To establish the mechanisms required for full cost accruals accounting system.
6. Initiate action to formulate and develop plans for restructuring and collocation of the agency.
7. Complete national measurement accreditation service NAMAS of DCTA laboratories.
8. To remain within financial year 1994 95 cash allocation, incorporating current efficiency assumptions.
9. To initiate a review of the scope for further private sector involvement, aiming to complete implementation by April 1998. I have arranged for copies of the agency's framework document to be placed in the Library of both Houses.
Establishment--RAFSEE--became an agency of the Ministry of Defence on 22 November 1994. RAFSEE is based primarily at Royal Air Force, Henlow, with one division currently located at Royal Air Force, Wyton and due to move to Royal Air Force, Waddington in 1995. The establishment belongs to the Signals Units group which is part of Logistics Command, the headquarters of which is at Royal Air Force, Brampton.
The role of RAFSEE is to provide a quick reaction signals engineering capability for military operations worldwide. This work includes design, manufacture, installation and recovery for the full range of strategic and tactical communications, radar and information and electronic systems. It also extends to providing special signals equipment for the Royal Air Force's electronic reconnaissance squadron, and special avionic equipment for aircraft of the three services.
As the first chief executive, Air Commodore P. C. Ayee will be offered new opportunities to build on the current organisation's professional expertise and high performance standards. In maintaining RAFSEE's operational capability, the chief executive will actively seek to improve the efficiency and value for money of his organisation.
The chief executive has been set the following key targets for financial year 1994 95:
1. To deliver 100 per cent. of operational tasks to time. 2. To maintain 100 per cent. of core skills needed to support likely operations.
3. To deliver 70 per cent. of all tasks to time, an improvement of 10 per cent. over the previous year.
4. To put in place a system to monitor and report on the on the quality of delivered tasks.
5.To reduce costs per task manhour by five per cent.
6. To complete a competing for quality feasibility study on £7, 970,000 of non-core business by 31 January 1995.
7. To produce shadow accrual accounts by 1 April 1995. I have arranged for copies of the agency's framework document to be placed in the Library of the House.
system--Army--was established as a Defence agency on 21 November 1994 and will now be known as the Logistic Information Systems Agency--LISA. LISA will comprise a headquarters at Andover, alongside the quartermaster general's headquarters--QMG--and two main centres of activity at Bicester and Donnington where the base ordnance depots are located. LISA's initial strength will be 46 servicemen and 351 civilians.
The role of the agency is to enhance the logistic effectiveness of the Army in peace and war by providing information systems, services and support.
As the first chief executive, Brigadier A.W. Pollard will be given the authority, responsibility and opportunities to improve the quality of information systems support to Army logistics in a comprehensive, competitive and efficient manner. Building on the Government's successful competing for quality initiatives, he will be following an innovative approach to the involvement of
Column 146the private sector in the non-core aspects of the agency's work. If study work confirms preliminary assessments it is envisaged that a partnering contract with a private sector supplier will be awarded by competition towards the end of 1995. Consideration is being given, within the bounds of Government policy and without detriment to military priorities, to including some novel revenue sharing arrangements in this contract with the partner. This will be achieved by exploiting the wider market potential offered by partnering and any under utilised, but unavoidable spare LISA capacity. The scope for offsetting LISA costs will thus have obvious value for money benefits to the taxpayer.
The chief executive has been set the following key targets for the first year of operation:
1. Meet targets laid down by QMG for the timeliness, cost and planning effectiveness of projects. Projects should be delivered within planned time and cost tolerance without adjusting the project plans.
2. By 1 April 1995, carry out a customer satisfaction survey, completeness and responsiveness of the services offered and set targets for improvement.
3. By 1 April 1995 introduce dummy invoicing for chargeable services provided by LISA.
4. Within the competing for quality framework, and in order to deliver CFQ efficiency savings, reach a decision by 1 April 1995 on a partnering agreement with the private sector or determine what other CFQ initiatives should be employed to achieve the desired savings and efficiencies.
5. By 31 December 1994 LISA will finalise its pre-CFQ initiative organisational structure and by 1 April 1995 will complete the associated internal changes.
6. LISA will introduce financial and business systems to enable the operation of a full cost accruals accounting system by 1 April 1995.
7. For financial year 1994 95 to operate within budgetary provision and achieve agreed output. By 1 April 1995 establish baselines for agency overheads and unit costs of chargeable output, as a more reliable means of measuring efficiency, and set targets for reductions.
I have arranged for copies of the agency's framework document to be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Freeman: Following invitations to tender issued by the Ministry of Defence on 14 July 1994, initial bids have been received from Devonport Management Limited, for Devonport dockyard, and from Babcock International Group, for Rosyth dockyard. No other bids have been received to date. We are currently evaluating these bids and negotiations will take place with each of the companies, but outcomes other than sale cannot be ruled out.
Mr. Freeman: It will, in due course, be necessary to report to the House on my Department's investigations into recent corruption cases. At present, however, the investigations are still in train and, in the case of Gordon Foxley, are closely integrated with a civil action which
Column 147has been launched against Foxley, members of his family circle and the companies involved.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if all facilities which comprise the Trident works programme at CSB Faslane and RNAD Coulport will have received a full complete safety case before HMS Vanguard goes out on operational patrol; and if he will make a statement;
(2) if all new construction at CSB Faslane and RNAD Coulport has now been completed; whether all facilities have now received a full and complete nuclear safety case; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman: All major new construction at CSB Faslane and RNAD Coulport in support of the Trident programme is complete. Clearance of all facilities necessary to support HMS Vanguard's first operational patrol has been given or is in hand. Work to achieve the full safety clearance of all facilities is progressing as planned and is due to complete next year.
(2) if the shiplift at CSB Faslane will have achieved unlimited safety clearance before HMS Vanguard goes out on operational patrol; (3) what progress has been made in obtaining a full and complete nuclear safety case for the shiplift at CSB Faslane; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman: HMS Vanguard was lifted fully on the Faslane shiplift during the week commending 24 October, following a partial lift to establish the fit between the submarine and its supporting cradle. Work towards achieving full through-life safety clearance of the shiplift is progressing as planned and is due to complete next year.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his current estimate of the date of commencement of legal action against the Bricom group in relation to damage caused in the course of the Airwork contract for modifications to F3 Tornados at RAF St. Athan.
Mr. Freeman: We hope to be able to complete the preparation of the claim against Bricom by the end of financial year 1994 95 when it will be raised against the company. Whether or not specific legal action has to be taken will depend on the company's response to the claim.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the decision on FLA C130J can be delayed until the feasibility studies on the future large aircraft are completed in the first quarter of 1995.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has already been spent on the proposed market testing of RAF hospital Wegberg in Germany; what is the estimated final cost; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: It would not be possible to identify separately the cost of market testing the RAF hospital at Wegberg from the overall study of health provision for British forces Germany. The additional cost of the market test was some £100,000 in financial year 1993 94 and is estimated to be £600,000 this financial year and £160,000 next year. As a result of this project, we expect to make substantial savings against the current cost of this activity which is currently in excess of £30,000,000 per annum.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the distance flown by helicopters from RAF Chivenor to the rendezvous with West Glamorgan firefighters during Operation Seafire on 17 October off the west Wales coast; what was the distance flown from that rendezvous to the Stena Sea Lynx; and what was the average speed (i) over each leg of the journey from Chivenor to the Sea Lynx separately and (ii) over the whole journey, excluding the stop in west Glamorgan.
|Average |Distance|speed |nm |kts -------------------------------------------------------------- RAF Chivenor to rendezvous point |86 |110 Rendezvous point to Stena Sea Lynx |51 |125
The average speed over the whole journey, excluding the stop in west Glamorgan, was 118 kts.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when Mr. David Hart was last employed by his Office and for what reason he left; what role Mr. Hart played in providing written or oral advice in the defence costs study initiative; and what access he had to official information concerning the replacement programme for the Hercules transport aircraft or information supplied by British Aerospace concerning its participation in the future large aircraft.
Mr. Freeman: Mr. David Hart is one of a number of unpaid, independent advisers who provide my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence with informal advice from time to time. At my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State's request, he was involved in the defence costs study, "Front Line First",
Column 149but he has not been involved in deliberations on the replacement programme for Hercules transport aircraft.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what action he proposes to take to meet World health authority health-based air quality guidelines for transport-related pollutants by the year 2005;
(2) if he will make it his policy to explore with the Institution of Environmental Health Officers, other professional bodies and local authorities how forms of collaboration similar to the London air quality network and unit can be built on and encouraged in other conurbations;
(3) what action he proposes to take to establish in appropriate areas by 2005 local air quality standards based on the critical levels required to protect sensitive eco-systems.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to work with vehicle manufacturers and dismantlers to develop a cradle-to-grave strategy for recycling.
Mr. Atkins: Currently 1.5 million vehicles are scrapped in the United Kingdom each year and in the process 75 per cent. by weight is recycled, with the remainder going to landfill. In December 1993, the Automotive Consortium on Recycling and Disposal--ACORD--which represents all sectors of the industry, presented to Government a preliminary plan which would increase the recovery of scrap from vehicles to 95 per cent. by body weight by the year 2015. This will require a cradle-to-grave approach to the manufacture of new vehicles and components in which design for recovery will play an important part. ACORD has now produced a detailed implementation plan which we will be discussing with it shortly.
Mrs. Helen Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has to alter the regulations regarding the licensing of landfill sites registered for the disposal of toxic or nuclear waste.
Column 150document, "Review of Radioactive Waste Management Policy: Preliminary Conclusions". published in August, was that waste producers should be encouraged to make more use of the controlled burial of radioactive waste in landfill sites. However, this would remain subject to the same strict regulatory control as at present. The proposals in the document are being considered in the light of the responses received. The disposal of controlled wastes, including special wastes, is subject to the enhanced waste management licensing arrangements introduced under the Environmental Protection Act in May this year.
Mrs. Helen Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the landfill sites in the country at present registered for nuclear waste disposal and those where applications are under consideration.
Mr. Atkins: A small number if users of radioactive material are currently authorised under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 to dispose of low level radioactive waste by controlled burial at specified sites. The sites where such burial is specified in the relevant user's authorisations and which may receive waste are: Milton Landfill, Cambridge
ICI Limited, Cowpen Bewley Tip, Cleveland
Vickers Waste Ponds, Walney Island, Cumbria
Rolls-Royce, Hilts Quarry, Derbyshire
Magnesium Elektron, Swinton, Greater Manchester
Cilgwyn Quarry, Caernarfon, Gwynedd
Braziers Landfill, Hertfordshire
SCM Chemicals, Site tip, Humberside
Clifton Marsh, Preston, Lancashire
Sefton Meadows Tip, Merseyside
Beighton Tip, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Beddingham Quarry, Sussex
Ryton Tip, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
BNFL, Drigg, Cumbria
BNFL, Sellafield, Cumbria
Some of the users of radioactive material are licensed under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965. The sites where waste arising from such users can be buried are: Cowpen Bewley, Vickers, Hilts Quarry, Ulnes Walton, Clifton Marsh, Drigg and Sellafield. With the exception of Drigg, the wastes arise locally to the burial site.
There are no outstanding applications for authorisation under RSA 1993 which involve burial of low, medium or high level radioactive waste.