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Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the exact dates of visits to Indonesia by officials in his Department since 1 January 1990 and the reasons for those visits in each case. 
Mr. Freeman: Details of such visits are not held centrally. Officials have visited Indonesia from time to time since 1 January 1990 to discuss defence and security matters of mutual interest. Details of their discussions are confidential, as is usual.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the exact dates of ministerial visits to Indonesia since 1 January 1990 (a) naming the Ministers and (b) the reasons for the visit in each case. 
Mr. Freeman: My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence visited Indonesia in May 1993. His predecessor visited in September 1991, and the then Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces visited in March 1990 and May 1991. The purpose of these visits was to discuss defence and security matters of mutual interest. As is usual, details of these discussions are confidential.
Mr. Freeman: The number of service personnel and civilians employed at present in complemented press and public relations and public relations support posts in London and districts and commands at home and overseas is 160. A figure for 1979 is not available.
Mr. Bill Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the number of flying training units which were active in the years (a) 1965 and (b) 1975 and the number which will be active after the "Front Line First" changes have been implemented and the number of training aircraft in use in each unit in each year. 
(a) The number of flying training squadrons in 1965 and the number of training aircraft could only be provided at
(b) The flying training squadrons (Sqn) in 1975 were as follows: 705 Sqn. Gazelle
750 Sqn. Sea Prince
706 Sqn. Sea King
737 Sqn. Wessex/Sea King
849 Sqn. Wasp
Phantom training unit--Fixed Wing training squadrons
Buccaneer training unit--Fixed Wing training squadrons
Records are no longer available of the numbers of training aircraft in this year.
(c) Post "Front Line First" squadrons are:
750 Sqn. Jet Stream: 17 Aircraft
706/810. Sqn Sea King 5/6 : 20 Aircraft
849 Sqn. Sea King W (AEW) : 2 Aircraft
848 Sqn. Sea King 4 : 4 Aircraft
702 Sqn. Lynx 8 : 12 Aircraft
899 Sqn. Sea Harrier FA2: 6 Aircraft
Denotes helicopter squadrons.
Airborne early warning.
(a) and (b) all Army flying training in 1965 and 1975 was undertaken at Middle Wallop. The numbers of training aircraft could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
(c) Following the establishment of the Defence helicopter flying school at RAF Shawbury in 1997, Army flying training will be conducted at both Middle Wallop and RAF Shawbury. The number of training aircraft at both sites has yet to be finalised.
Royal Air Force
(a) and (b) From the records available, the following flying training units and aircraft were operated by the RAF in 1965 and 1975:
|1965|1975 ----------------------------------------------- Flying School 1 Flying Training School (FTS) |39 |28 2 FTS |42 |- 3 FTS |42 |40 4 FTS |49 |36 5 FTS |21 |- 6 FTS |42 |34 7 FTS |42 |- 1 Air Navigation School (ANS) |24 |- 2 ANS |22 |- Central Navigation School |36 |- Refresher Sqn. |38 |- Central Flying School (CFS) |50 |38 CFS (Helicopter) |24 |22 RAF College |77 |23 Air Engineer School |13 |-
(c) Once the "Font Line First" changes have been implemented, the active RAF flying training units and aircraft numbers will be as follows:
|Aircraft --------------------------------------------- Main Operating Bases RAF Cranwell |40 RAF Linton on Ouse (1 FTS) |54 RAF Valley (4 FTS) |73 Relief Landing Grounds RAF Barkston Heath |17 RAF Newton |<1>- RAF Topcliffe |19 <1> To be decided.
Mr. Bill Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the number of Royal Air Force airfields which were active in (a) 1965, (b) 1975 and (c) which will be active after the "Front Line First" changes have been implemented. 
Mr. Soames: There were a total of 216 RAF airfields in 1965 and 162 in 1975. It is currently planned that, following the implementation of the "Front Line First" initiatives, there will be 39 active RAF airfields in 1999.
Mr. Bill Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the number of Royal Air Force squadrons engaged in the air defence of the United Kingdom and the number of aircraft in each squadron in (a) 1965, (b) 1975 and (c) 1985. 
|1965 |1985 ----------------------------------------------------------------- 19 Squadron |12 |5 Squadron |12 23 Squadron |12 |11 Squadron |12 56 Squadron |14 |29 Squadron |15 64 Squadron |<1>- |43 Squadron |17 74 Squadron |12 |56 Squadron |13 92 Squadron |12 |74 Squadron |14 111 Squadron |1 |111 Squadron|16 Total |63 |99 <1> No. 64 Squadron had no operational aircraft on strength in the UK. It is understood that they were deployed to the far east.
Individual figures for squadrons are not available for 1975. The overall strength of operational air defence aircraft on 31 March 1975 was 85 aircraft.
Mr. Bill Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to ensure that there will be adequate uniformed RAF technical personnel available for overseas posting at very short notice during periods of hostility or threatened hostility against United Kingdom interests. 
Mr. Soames: The RAF has recently carried out an initial validation of its core requirement for uniformed regular manpower for operations. Detailed validation work is continuing to establish the service personnel required by rank, branch, trade and skill level to meet contingency operations and to protect United Kingdom interests. The RAF has sufficient technical personnel available for deployment to areas of tension as part of the immediate and rapid reaction forces.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his Department's policy towards increasing arms exports to (a) Asia and (b) the Pacific region; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Freeman: The Defence Export Services Organisation has decided to direct additional resources specifically towards Asia and the Pacific region with the objective of increasing the United Kingdom share of the defence market--within, of course, the restraints of governmental and international policy.
Mr. Freeman: Within the Ministry of Defence, support for defence exports is provided, primarily, by the Defence Export Services Organisation which exists to help British manufacturers market and sell their products abroad, complementing the wider range of services offered by the DTI. In addition to the DESO/DTI support, the Export Credits Guarantee Department makes available its range of export credit facilities to support defence sales.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what communications he has had with the Industrial Ecology research centre of the university of Liverpool in relation to arsenical traces discovered in fish in the proximity of munitions dumps in the Irish sea; 
(2) if he will provide additional finance for the Industrial Ecology research centre of the university of Liverpool to undertake further research work on arsenical traces in fish in the vicinity of munition dumps in the Irish sea. 
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will (a) list the quantity in tonnage and (b) specify the type of (i) chemical weapons and (ii) other munitions dumped in the sea surrounding the British Isles in each of the last 30 years;  (2) if he will make a statement about the sea dumping of (a) chemical weapons and (b) other munitions in British waters from 1965 to the present day; 
(3) if he will make a statement about the sea dumping of (a) chemical weapons and (b) other munitions in international waters from 1965 to the present day; 
Column 874(4) if he will list the names of operations undertaken by his Department regarding the sea dumping of munitions; if he will list the location of dump sites; and if he will specify the type and quantity of munitions dumped. 
Mr. Soames: There has been no sea dumping of chemical weapons since 1957. My Department ceased all sea dumping of conventional ammunition and explosive stocks on 1 January 1993 in line with the Oslo and Paris conventions. Complete records do not exist for dumping before this date. Beauforts dyke operated as my Department's main conventional munitions sea dump site between 1920 and 1973, and Hurds Deep, a site 1,000 miles off Land's End, acted as the dump site of redundant or demilitarised munitions from 1973 until sea dumping was terminated. No records are available to cover more distant international waters.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement about the dumping on land of (a) chemical weapons and (b) other munitions from 1965 to the present day; 
(2) if he will (a) list the quantity in tonnage and (b) specify the type of (i) chemical weapons and (ii) other munitions dumped on land in each of the last 30 years; and if he will specify the locations thereof. 
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces have died on training courses in Canada in each of the last 10 years; what were the dates of the deaths and the name and regiments of those involved; and if he will list details of each incident together with the conclusions of any inquiries carried out into these deaths. 
Mr. Soames: The Irish Government have been given details about Operation Sandcastle. There have been no intergovernmental discussions about this operation nor has any request for a meeting been received from the Irish Government.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total value, at today's prices, of land, buildings and equipment sold by his Department in each of the last 10 years; and what are the forecast total receipts for the next financial year. 
Mr. Soames: Due to the volatile nature of the property market it would not be possible to apply present day values to land and buildings which have been sold by my Department during the past 10 years. The actual receipts achieved for each of the years in question are as follows:
|£ million ------------------------------ 1984-85 |27.7 1985-86 |60.2 1986-87 |75.6 1987-88 |77.8 1988-89 |149.6 1989-90 |74.0 1990-91 |81.6 1991-92 |102.2 1992-93 |68.0 1993-94 |70.7 1994-95 |<1>62.0 <1> Projected.
The land buildings forecast receipts for the next financial year are £122 million. Any equipment associated with the sale of land and building is included in the figures.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 9 February, Official Report, column 415 , what is the current operational availability of his Department's 846 RB44 Army light vehicles; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Soames: All 846 vehicles have been taken out of service while a steering under braking defect is investigated. No vehicles will be returned to service until a satisfactory solution of the problem is achieved.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total cost to date of his Department's vehicle integrated communications and information distribution system; what was the original total cost of this project at today's prices; what was the original in- service date; when the project is now due to be in service; and if he will specify the changes made to the project in the last two years. 
Mr. Freeman: The total cost to date of the vehicle integrated communications and information distribution system--VICDS--is just over £5 million. The original estimated cost of developing VICDS to production standard at today's prices is £7.5 million; funding for production of VICDS is the responsibility of projects which require VICDS as their communications bearer. The original date for the completion of development was December 1994; VICDS development is now due to be completed in October 1997. VICDS will first enter service with Bowman whose in- service date is April 2000.
There have been no major changes to the VICDS requirement since the successful field trials in 1992. However, following a detailed project review in 1993, the Department revised the procurement strategy for VICDS to address the risks identified in the original programme and to align the VICDS timetable with that of project Bowman. Contracts for the current risk reduction phase were let with Racal Communications Systems Ltd. and Hunting Engineering Ltd. in August 1994.
Mr. Freeman: My Department forecasts that the world defence market annual average value of new orders for the period 1995 to 1999 will be more than 20 per cent. lower than the annual average value in the previous five years.
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance is normally given to members of the armed forces in pursuing claims against third parties in foreign countries for compensation for injuries incurred in the course of their duties on service abroad. 
Mr. Soames: There is no general provision for such assistance to service or civilian employees. Some advisory assistance to members of the armed forces serving abroad may be given by service legal officers where appropriate, but this would not extend to meeting the costs of any legal action that an individual might wish to pursue. My Department does however operate a discretionary ex-gratia criminal injury compensation scheme for members of the armed forces and their dependants who are the victims of crimes of violence while serving overseas.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations have been received from the Canadian Government in regard to the possible toxic or radioactive contamination caused by any accident of RAF aircraft en route from the Pacific to the United Kingdom on a flight path over Canada. 
Royal Air Force: 41
The figures for the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force represent personnel recruited through careers information offices located in Wales, while the Army figure represents the number of recruits who gave their normal place of residence as Wales. No central records are maintained of the country of origin of officers, or airmen aircrew in the Royal Air Force, and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration his Department has given to ending the use of airflights for the transportation of radioactive nuclear material over Britain. 
Mr. Soames: Arrangements for the transportation of defence nuclear materials are kept under review, but in some circumstances RAF aircraft will continue to be the most appropriate means of transportation.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what precautions his Department adopts to minimise the risk of an air disaster involving air flights carrying radioactive nuclear material over Britain. 
Mr. Soames: As matter of long-standing policy, the transportation of all defence nuclear material is kept to a minimum consistent with conduct of business. Route selection criteria for flights include the avoidance of population centres wherever possible.
Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about the progress that is presently being made towards the introduction of full competition in the supply of electricity in 1998. 
Mr. Eggar: The Government attach great importance to the successful introduction of full competition in electricity supply in 1998. Consumers in the existing competitive market have already seen the substantial benefits that competition can bring. Customers with a maximum demand above 1 MW have been able to choose their electricity supplier since April 1990, when the electricity industry was vested, and the latest figures released yesterday show that average electricity price paid by manufacturing industry in Great Britain fell by nearly 11 per cent. in real terms between 1989 and 1994. Evidence suggests that some smaller industrial and commercial customers have achieved price reductions of up to 10 to 15 per cent. since the competitive market was further widened to cover all premises above 100 kW last year.
We want small consumers, including domestic consumers, to be able to share in these benefits after 1998. The broad objective is therefore that the industry should establish practical arrangements for 1998 that will enable customers to change their electricity supplier cheaply and easily, while continuing present levels of customer protection. This is a major undertaking with implications for every household. It requires careful planning if consumers and suppliers are to have confidence in the new market.
Column 878The Director General of Electricity Supply issued a consultation paper in January of this year in which he set out his initial views on the trading and licensing arrangements that will be appropriate for 1998 and beyond, and in which he announced that he was setting up a 1998 co-ordination group for England and Wales under his chairmanship and with the participation of my Department. A separate co- ordination group for Scotland has also been set up. He has now held the first meetings of these groups. I welcome that initiative. The duty to promote competition is written into the Electricity Act 1989 and it is appropriate for the director general to take the lead in ensuring that all parties are working together.
I understand that the director general will shortly set a timetable for the 1998 process, which identifies each of the key issues to be addressed, those responsible and the deadlines that need to be met. Many decisions need to be taken as soon as possible this year and I encourage the electricity industry to work with Offer to ensure that the opening up of the market to full competition in 1998 takes place smoothly and delivers benefits to consumers.
Mr. Dafis: To ask the President of the Board of Trade to what extent the timing of the sale of shares in the electricity generators was a consideration in determining the date of the publication of "Energy Paper 65".