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NATO Exercise (South Africa)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the benefits of the NATO joint exercise in South Africa carried out between 1 April 1997 and 31 March 1998. [72850]

Mr. Doug Henderson [holding answer 2 March 1999]: There were no NATO joint exercises in South Africa between 1 April 1997 and 31 March 1998.

8 Mar 1999 : Column: 38

Jungle Training (Singapore)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the benefits of the jungle training exercise in Singapore carried out between 1 April 1997 and 31 March 1998; [72843]

Mr. Doug Henderson [holding answer 2 March 1999]: This exercise, involving a company of Royal Marines, was intended to maintain and develop their capability to conduct operations in a jungle environment, and is assessed to have succeeded in its aim.

Land Command

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the order of battle for Land Command (a) prior to and (b) following the Strategic Defence Review. [74057]

Mr. Doug Henderson [holding answer 2 March 1999]: The Order of Battle for Land Command before implementation of decisions taken in the Strategic

8 Mar 1999 : Column: 39

Defence Review, is two deployable divisions and six regional divisions. The deployable divisions are:



    3rd (United Kingdom) Division based in the UK, consisting of two mechanised brigades (1 and 19) and an airborne brigade (5).

The regional divisions are:



    4 Division, consisting of 2 (South East) and 145 (Home Counties) brigades and the deployable 24 Mobile Brigade


    5 Division consisting of 42 (North West), 143 (West Midlands) and 160 (Wales) Brigades


    Scottish district consisting of 51 (Highland) and 52 (Lowland) Brigades


    London District


    United Kingdom Support Command (Germany).

In addition to its deployable role, 3rd (United Kingdom) Division also commands 43 (Wessex) Brigade, a regional brigade. 107 (Ulster) Brigade is a stand alone regional brigade in Northern Ireland. There is also 2 (National Communications) Signal Brigade and nine deployable brigade sized formations:



    Combat Service Support Group (United Kingdom)


    Combat Service Support Group (Germany)


    1 Artillery Brigade


    7 Air Defence Brigade


    12 (Air Support) Engineer Brigade


    29 (Corps Support) Engineer Brigade


    1 Signal Brigade


    11 Signal Brigade.

In addition, there will be six overseas detachments:



    British Army Training Support Unit Belize


    British Army Training and Liaison Staff Kenya in Nairobi


    British Gurkhas Nepal


    Brunei Garrison.

Following the Strategic Defence Review, the Order of Battle for Land Command will be two deployable divisions and four regional divisions, including three larger regional divisions in the UK. The deployable divisions will be:



    3rd (United Kingdom) Mechanised Division based in the UK, to consist of three mechanised brigades (1, 12 and 19).

The regional divisions will be:



    4 Division, consisting of London District and 2 (South East), 49 (East) and 145 (Home Counties) Brigades


    5 Division consisting of 43 (Wessex), 145 (West Midlands) and 107 (Ulster) and 160 (Wales) Brigades


    United Kingdom Support Command (Germany).

There will also be two (National Communications) Signal Brigade and nine deployable Brigade-sized formations. One Reconnaissance Brigade unit will be

8 Mar 1999 : Column: 40

embedded with the brigades of 3rd (United Kingdom) Division. The nine deployable Brigade-size formations will therefore be:



    Combat Service Support Group (United Kingdom)


    Combat Service Support Group (Germany)


    1 Artillery Brigade


    7 Air Defence Brigade


    12 (Air Support) Engineer Brigade


    29 (Corps Support) Engineer Brigade


    1 Signal Brigade


    11 Signal Brigade.

In addition, there will be six overseas detachments:



    British Army Training Support Unit Belize


    British Army Training and Liaison Staff Kenya in Nairobi


    British Gurkhas Nepal


    Brunei Garrison.

Submarines (Health)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the health effects of service on a submarine. [74950]

Mr. Spellar: The Royal Navy has a comprehensive strategy to monitor for the health effects of submarine service. It is based on a programme of selective and rigorous medical screening and regular occupational health surveillance of individual submariners including monitoring for radiation exposure. This is backed up by epidemiological studies performed by independent authorities and a comprehensive system of scientific evaluation conducted in collaboration with other nations operating submarines.

As my hon. Friend the Minister for the Armed Forces announced in his written answer on 24 February 1999, Official Report, columns 300-01, medical studies have shown that some contaminants, which are present in the atmosphere of a submarine, exceed the levels which are considered safe for the foetus of a pregnant women. These contaminants pose no risk to adults.

The results of an independent mortality study undertaken for the Royal Navy by the Medical Research Council and published in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Journal in 1997 concluded that submariners are an occupational health group with an overall lower rate of mortality among workers than in the general population.

Departmental Land

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current acreage of his Department's land holding; and what plans he has to reduce it. [74817]

Mr. Spellar: The total acreage of land that is held by the Ministry of Defence (both freehold and leasehold) stands at almost 593,000 acres (240,000 hectares). My Department recognises its responsibility to use and manage its estate effectively and our policy is to ensure that no more land is used than is needed to meet operational requirements.

8 Mar 1999 : Column: 41

There are currently some 32,000 acres (13,000 hectares) of surplus property scheduled for disposal, while the Strategic Defence Review set an ambitious target of £700 million in disposal receipts over four years. The Review also concluded that there should be more effective central strategic management of the estate. The Defence Estate Organisation and others are striving to ensure that the necessary processes are put in place to achieve this and we fully anticipate that further estate rationalisation will occur as a result.

Veterans' Advice Unit

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current budget of, and how many civil servants and military personnel are employed in, the Veterans' Advice Unit. [74659]

Mr. Doug Henderson [holding answer 4 March 1999]: The Ministry of Defence Veterans' Advice Unit is currently staffed by three serving Warrant Officers (1 Royal Navy, 1 Army and 1 Royal Air Force).

The budget for the Veterans' Advice Unit covers the employment costs of the Warrant Officers, telecommunications and publicity material. The cost of the unit in the current financial year is estimated to be £89,000.

Chief of Defence Procurement

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the planned budget and total staff of the Chief of Defence Procurement after 1 April 2000. [74653]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 4 March 1999]: Detailed budgetary allocations to individual budget holders in the Ministry of Defence are made only one year in advance. In broad terms, however, our plans for the Chief of Defence Procurement's area of responsibility for the financial year 2000-01 envisage expenditure in the order of £5.5 billion on equipment and some £600 million in operating costs at 1998-99 constant prices. Staff numbers for that year are expected to be around 5,000.

Unified Defence Logistics Organisation

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the key milestones and timetable for the implementation of the unified Defence Logistics Organisation. [74649]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 4 March 1999]: The Chief of Defence Logistics will assume full budgetary and management responsibility for the Defence Logistics Organisation from 1 April 1999 and will create a unified organisation from 1 April 2000.


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