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Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 23 June 2000, Official Report, column 319W, if the modified SA80 rifle will be added to the NATO Nominated Weapons List. 
Dr. Moonie: In 1997, the SA80 was suspended from the NATO Nominated Weapons list, the list of those weapons used for testing ammunition that is seeking NATO qualification. Once modified, the SA80 will be re-assessed and should be re-admitted to this list.
Dr. Moonie: Twenty empty properties in Leeming Village were handed back to the owners, Annington Homes Ltd. (AHL), on 26 June. It is, of course, for the owners to decide how to dispose of these properties but they are likely to be sold privately through a nominated agent. It is probable that 10 of the remaining properties in Leeming will be part of a future release but they are currently subject to planning and approval processes and a number of them are occupied.
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Mr. Pearson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list for his Department and its agencies the approved list of manufacturers of (a) cars and (b) commercial vehicles; and if he will make a statement on his Department's leasing and purchasing policy. 
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence does not operate an approved list of manufacturers of cars or commercial vehicles. The supplier is normally selected through competition. The Department's policy is to seek the best value for money and this will determine whether we purchase or lease vehicles in specific cases. However, management of cars and commercial vehicles is not core MOD business and as a consequence the Department is actively pursuing the provision of vehicle and support services through a competitively let Private Finance Initiative contract. It will be for the contractor to determine the type and mix of vehicles to provide the necessary service.
Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on how many occasions since May 1997 Ministers in his Department have made a declaration of interest to their colleagues under circumstances envisaged in Paragraph 110 of the Ministerial Code; 
(3) if he will list the occasions since May 1997 on which Ministers in his Department have sought the advice of the Permanent Secretary under the circumstances envisaged in paragraphs 118, 121 or 123 of the Ministerial Code. 
Dr. Moonie: The properties at Arborfield were included in the sale, on a 999 year lease, of most of the Service Families Quarters in England and Wales to Annington Homes Ltd. (AHL) in November 1996. At that time there was a requirement for the properties to house Service families and they were underleased back from AHL. The properties have since been declared surplus to Service requirements and, under the terms of the sale agreement a total of 105 have been handed back to AHL. The option of sale on the open market is therefore a matter for the owners, AHL.
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Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what environmental appraisal has been conducted regarding his Department's plans to secure planning permission for housing on Church Fenton airfield. 
Dr. Moonie: To date it has been premature to discuss the issue of environmental appraisals with Selby District Council (SDC). The Ministry of Defence, or the site's eventual developer, will, prior to the submission of any planning application(s), liaise with SDC over the provision of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for those aspects of the development for which one may be required under planning/environmental legislation.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what environmental and conservation bodies have been consulted by his Department in connection with its plans to secure planning permission for housing on Church Fenton airfield. 
Dr. Moonie: Under the Town and Country Planning legislation it is the duty of the local planning authority (LPA) to consult with environmental and conservation bodies, where necessary, over any applications for development. It is not known what consultations Selby District Council have undertaken in respect of RAF Church Fenton. It would be premature for us to initiate these discussions as our plans are being tested at the Local Plan Inquiry.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consultations his Department has had with local parish councils regarding his Department's proposal to secure planning permission for housing on Church Fenton Airfield. 
Dr. Moonie: Under the Town and Country Planning Acts it is an obligation of the local planning authority (LPA) to consult with the parish councils once they receive a planning application for redevelopment. In August 1998, my Department submitted an application for redevelopment of part of the Church Fenton site and the LPA should have consulted the parish councils. Their response is not known. We subsequently agreed to hold any decision on that application in abeyance until the result of the current Local Plan Inquiry was known. As for our submissions to, and appearance at, the Local Plan Inquiry, the local parish councils would have been part of the LPA's consultation process throughout the preparation of the plan. However, they were also specifically advised of our proposals by letter from our planning consultants in early June of this year.
10 Jul 2000 : Column: 379W
of News, Mr. Martin Howard; what civil service post was held by Mr. Howard prior to his appointment as Director of News, who the previous holder of the position of Director of News was; and what Mr. Howard's job description is as Director of News. 
Dr. Moonie: Mr. Martin Howard is a member of the senior civil service. His previous appointment was in the Ministry of Defence as Head of the Overseas Secretariat. The previous incumbent of the post of Director of News was Ms Oona Muirhead, also a senior civil servant. The role of Director of News is to act as the official spokesman of the Ministry of Defence and to identify media opportunities for promoting the key themes of the Defence Mission proactively, effectively and consistently.
Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the journalists he has had meetings with at his Department since December 1999; and on what dates these meetings were held. 
|Ian Kirby (News of the World)||6 January 2000|
|Alex Nicholl (Financial Times)||1 March 2000|
|Peter Ryan (Economist)||2 March 2000|
|Lucy Jackson (British Forces Broadcasting Service)||21 March 2000|
|News piece(4) (BBC TV News)||23 March 2000|
|Anita Anand (Zee TV)||4 April 2000|
|Richard Norton-Taylor (The Guardian)||17 April 2000|
|Tim Sebastian (BBC Hardtalk)||8 May 2000|
|Jon Craig (Express on Sunday)||5 July 2000|
(4) Interviewer name not recorded
In addition, I have had a number of door-step interviews at the MOD with various different broadcast news teams, particularly during May and June when a large number of British troops were deployed to Sierra Leone.
|Press conference subject||Date|
|Announcement of Eurofighter missile and heavy lift aircraft procurement decisions||16 May 2000|
|Launch of Defence Estates Strategy||7 June 2000|
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