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Kirkcudbright Test Range

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2000, Official Report, column 282W, on the meeting between the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, if he will place in the Library a copy of the working notes taken at the meeting. [106726]

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Mr. Kilfoyle: The working notes of the meeting between the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency are a record of internal discussions and I am therefore withholding them under Exception 2 (Internal discussion and advice) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Ammunition

Mr. DuncanSmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many rounds of ammunition by type were expended in the Royal Navy other than in operations in each of the last five years; [107246]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 27 January 2000]: I am withholding this information in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to Defence, Security and International Relations.

Kosovo

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the cost to his budget, by category, of provisioning Russian forces at Pristina airport; and if he will make a statement. [107089]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 27 January 2000]: Following receipt of a request from the commander of the Russian forces in Kosovo, the then Commander of KFOR, Lieutenant General Sir Mike Jackson took the decision to supply the Russians with 15,000 litres of bottled water, along with a small number of maps on 16 June. The costs to my Department were £2,356 and £3 respectively.

Casualty Ship

Mr. Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to order the 200-bed primary casualty receiving ship announced in the Strategic Defence Review. [107249]

Mr. Kilfoyle [holding answer 27 January 2000]: A range of procurement options for the Primary Casualty Receiving Ship is being considered, including a full PFI service. Current indications are that we should be in a position to place a contract during 2002. The programme to achieve this date is being developed.

RAF Neatishead

Mr. Prior: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of RAF Neatishead. [107395]

Mr. Spellar: The issues raised during consultation on the future of RAF Neatishead and RAF Buchan are currently being investigated. An announcement will be made once this work is complete.

Old Range, Shoeburyness

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he sold the Old Range at Shoeburyness; to whom; and at what price. [107027]

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Mr. Kilfoyle [holding answer 27 January 2000]: The whole of the Old Ranges and Horseshoe Barracks, Shoeburyness, was sold, subject to contract, on 20 January 2000 with completion expected towards the end of March 2000. Until then, details of the purchaser and purchase price remain commercially confidential and I am therefore withholding this information under Exemption 7 of the Code of Access to Government Information.

Solway Harvester

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what reports he has received concerning the presence of Royal Navy vessels in the vicinity of the Harvester at the time of its sinking; and if he will make a statement. [107061]

Mr. Spellar: At the time of the tragic loss of the Solway Harvester the nearest vessel was the RFA Bayleaf, a tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. She was some 30 miles west of the Solway Harvester when the mayday was raised and took part in the rescue operation. There were no other Royal Navy vessels in the vicinity of the Isle of Man. There were no submarines in the area.

Ethnic Minorities

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) men and (b) women from ethnic minority backgrounds are serving in each of the British armed services. [107121]

Mr. Spellar: As at 1 December 1999, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 2,113 men and 210 women from ethnic backgrounds serving in the UK regular Armed Forces. The individual figures for each Service are:

MenWomen
Naval Service35025
Army1,219136
RAF54449

Territorial Army

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will review the effects of the restructuring of the Territorial Army on the availability of the premises of the Territorial Army for use by other community activities, with particular reference to TA centres in rural Wales. [107130]

Mr. Spellar: The main purpose of Territorial Army Centres (TACs) is to train members of the TA, but links with local communities are greatly valued by the Army and, wherever practicable, local groups will continue to be allowed use of TACs.

Meat

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent measures his Department has taken to maximise the procurement of domestically produced meat for the armed forces. [107129]

Mr. Kilfoyle: The supply of food to our Armed Forces is contracted out to "3663" (formerly trading as Booker Foodservice). They are required to seek best market prices

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and, in doing so, to give full consideration to British products. As a result our contractor is currently sourcing all beef for consumption by our UK-based service personnel from British intervention stocks. In addition, 100 per cent. of our pork and some 50 per cent. of our bacon and gammon is being sourced in the UK. Our contractor has so far been unable to identify competitively priced sources of British lamb but continues to keep this under active review.

Cluster Munitions

Mr. Martin Bell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of each type of cluster munitions are held by (a) the Royal Air Force, (b) the Royal Navy and (c) the Army. [107273]

Mr. Spellar: I am withholding this information in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to Defence, Security and International Relations.

Chinook Crash

Mr. Martin Bell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Air Accident Investigation Branch (a) considered and (b) ruled out the possibility of an uncommanded flying control movement, that left no trace as having occurred prior to the fatal crash of RAF Chinook 2D576 on the Mull of Kintyre in 1994. [107274]

Mr. Spellar: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

BSE

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many bovine samples were sent from each country outside the United Kingdom to Weybridge Veterinary Laboratory since 1980; and what was the number of the samples from each country that were diagnosed with BSE in that period. [106323]

Mr. Nick Brown [holding answer 24 January 2000]: The subject of the question relates to matters undertaken by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency. I have asked its Chief Executive, Mr. T. Little, to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from T. W. A. Little to Mr. Tim Yeo, dated 28 January 2000:



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    Such submissions have almost invariably been framed as requests from other countries for the diagnostic examination of material from their initial suspect cases of BSE. Because the VLA has provided training in the diagnosis of BSE for veterinary pathologists in many countries, requests for the examination of bovine samples of BSE have been confirmed at most to the initial few cases experienced in the country, with subsequent diagnosis being conducted by the countries own veterinary pathologists. Also, consultations on such material from other countries will not have been restricted to bovine samples sent to the VLA since opinions will have been sought from VLA veterinary pathologists and scientists whilst visiting other countries.


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