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18. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his letter, ref. D/US of S/LM 4333/00/M of 5 December, what advice he has received from the Medical Research Centre concerning an independent epidemiological study for Porton Down volunteers. 
Dr. Moonie: We have received confirmation from the Medical Research Council that they are looking at the feasibility of carrying out an independent epidemiological study of Porton Down Volunteers. My officials plan to meet the Medical Research Council to discuss the matter in detail later this month or early next. Further discussions with Porton Down and an assessment of the source material in the surviving records is likely to follow.
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previously been a member of the Army, air or sea cadets; and what percentage of recruits to each of the services this represented. 
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence's support to defence contractors selling overseas is provided in furtherance of the Government's policy of support for defence exports set out in my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's statement on 28 July 1997.
Mr. Hoon: Britain's armed forces play a leading role in NATO, contributing to the full range of Alliance roles and tasks. In particular, the UK is the framework nation for the Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps, the ARRC, one of the great successes of the Alliance's post-Cold War adaptation.
Mr. Spellar: Altcar Training Camp at Hightown, Merseyside is used extensively by regular forces, reserves and cadets from all three services. It is also used by members of civilian rifle clubs and the police. We have no plans to alter our use of Altcar.
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Dr. Moonie: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friends the Members for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle), for South Ribble (Mr. Borrow) and for Preston (Mr. Hendrick), on 15 January 2001, Official Report, columns 5-6.
The terms of reference of the EU Military Staff make quite clear that it is not responsible for operational planning. The Nice documents also make clear that NATO will carry out operational planning for EU-led operations that have recourse to NATO assets and capabilities. Operational planning for other operations may be carried out in existing European national and multinational headquarters, such as our own Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ).
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Dr. Moonie: There has been no direct contact between my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence and his New Zealand counterpart over the past 12 months. However, I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Burton, the Defence Minister, at a meeting of Five Power Defence Arrangements Defence Ministers in Malaysia and Singapore last July. Our defence relations with New Zealand remain very good, and are based on strong and traditional links between the armed forces of our two countries.
Dr. Moonie: Records show that as at 1 January 2001, 39 claims for compensation from former Chatham Dockyard workers had been submitted to the British Nuclear Fuels Compensation Scheme for Radiation Linked Diseases, of which the Ministry of Defence is a member. Thirty were ruled ineligible because radiation dose levels were too small, seven are presently under consideration and two have been found to meet the Scheme's criteria and be eligible for compensation. The level of compensation is being assessed and following completion of this exercise offers of settlement will be made.
Mr. Hoon: I refer my hon Friend to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) and my hon Friend the Member for Bolton, North-East (Mr. Crausby), on 15 January 2001, Official Report, column 8.
Mr. Hoon: EU Heads of State and Governments met at the Nice summit in December. This represented another important milestone in the development of new European Security and Defence arrangements. Member states reaffirmed their commitment to improve military
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capability, including by remedying shortfalls in key enabling capabilities (e.g. lift) and in the characteristics of the armed forces (e.g. availability).
It also looked forward to the establishment of permanent political/military structures that will allow the political control and strategic direction of crisis management operations; and to a close relationship with NATO on the basis of co-operation, consultation and transparency.
The NATO North Atlantic Council (Foreign Ministers) on 14-15 December 2000 welcomed the Nice Proposals on European defence. It reaffirmed determination to reinforce NATO's European Pillar, and to share the goals endorsed by EU member states at Nice.
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