some default text...

24 Jan 2001 : Column: 575W

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 24 January 2001

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Criminal Justice Review Group

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) if the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland has expressed his views about the Criminal Justice Review Group's recommendations on judicial appointments; [144664]

Mr. Lock: The Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland did express views on the recommendations of the Criminal Justice Review Group. It is usual policy that views expressed by individuals in consultation exercises are treated in confidence, unless the individual wishes otherwise.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) if the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland has communicated with members of the Criminal Justice Review Group; [144663]

Mr. Lock: I can confirm that the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland responded to the Criminal Justice Review Group's consultations and met members of the Group as part of its consultation exercise.

Immigration Appeal Tribunal (North-east)

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she plans to set up an immigration appeal tribunal in the North East Government Office for the Region. [146386]

Jane Kennedy: There are no plans for the Immigration Appeal Tribunal to sit in the north-east, but the Tribunal is investigating the potential for using video conferencing so that parties are not put to the expense and inconvenience of travelling long distances.

Departmental Surveys

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will list for (a) 1992-93, (b) 1993-94, (c) 1994-95, (d) 1995-96, (e) 1996-97, (f) 1997-98, (g) 1998-99, (h) 1999-2000 and (i) 2000-01, (I) his Department's total spending on quantitative and qualitative surveys of policy issues by focus groups, opinion polling, task forces or other means and (II) the cost of each individual project. [146594]

24 Jan 2001 : Column: 576W

Jane Kennedy: Spending by the Department on market and opinion research on policy issues for 1999-2000 was £161,004. Information so far available for spending in 2000-01 gives a total of £39,848. Figures for earlier years are not readily available. The individual projects and their cost are shown in the table.

In addition, in 2000-01 the Department has provided funding for the Review of Tribunals being undertaken by Sir Andrew Leggatt to research and evaluate the views and experiences of recent applicants to a tribunal at a cost of £24,375.

Projects undertaken£
1999-2000
Provision of Information Meetings: market research findings30,000
Community Legal Service: strategy development research41,854
Community Legal Service: quality market and brand identity evaluation49,150
Total161,004
2000-01
Office for National Statistics Omnibus Module: non-pecuniary loss2,336
Factors affecting the decision to apply for Silk and judicial office9,652
The effects on magistrates of learning that the defendant has a previous conviction27,860
Total39,848

DEFENCE

Challenger II Transporters

Mr. Heppell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the contract will be awarded in respect of the new transporters for the Challenger II tanks; and if he will make a statement. [147410]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence has selected FASTTRAX--a consortium led by Brown and Root Ltd. of Leatherhead, Surrey--to be the preferred bidder for a private-sector financed heavy equipment transporter service for the Army that will provide UK production, support and service employment opportunities for the 20 years of the contract. The service will be based upon vehicles provided by the Oshkosh Truck Corporation of Wisconsin, USA, and King Trailers of Market Harborough, Leicestershire.

The Defence Procurement Agency will now conclude its negotiations with FASTTRAX with the aim of achieving financial close and contract award by the middle of the year. This is the first programme to seek a solution under the Government's private finance initiative for an operational combat support vehicle requirement and is also one where a significant proportion of the service will be delivered using sponsored reserves.

The contract value is around £300 million and will create or sustain up to 200 jobs in UK companies and sponsored reserves service units.

Road Transport Operations

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date an amendment to Joint Services Publication 341

24 Jan 2001 : Column: 577W

(The Road Transport Operations Handbook) was issued requiring a certificate to be signed by a commanding officer when normal operating standards are to be exceeded; and how many such certificates have been issued in each month since that date. [146276]

Mr. Spellar: The amendment to Joint Services Publication 341 (Joint Service Road Transport Regulations) was issued in December 1999. This requires commanding officers to sign a certificate of waiver when authorising any change to maximum driving periods and minimum rest periods.

Certificates are held at unit level for 12 months and are not recorded centrally. Information on the number of certificates issued each month since December 1999 could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

I would also refer the hon. Member to my previous reply to the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Keetch) on 20 October 1999, Official Report, column 583.

Sexual Health

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what arrangements will be made for the availability and issue of the morning-after pill to female UK service personnel; and if he will make a statement; [146451]

Mr. Spellar: I will write to my hon. Friend.

Depleted Uranium

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if depleted uranium rounds are routinely carried by Challenger tanks on operations and training exercises. [146899]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 23 January 2001]: Depleted uranium rounds are not carried by Challenger tanks on exercise and are moved to a theatre of operations only if the circumstances suggest that they may be needed. For example, each Challenger 1 carried DU ammunition when deployed to the Gulf in 1990-01. DU ammunition is not currently held in the Balkans, but could be flown out at short notice should the situation warrant it.

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the arrangements are for the storage and handling of depleted uranium ammunition in service with UK armed forces; and if he will make a statement. [146898]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 23 January 2001]: The Ministry of Defence places the utmost importance on the health and safety of all service and civilian employees. Accordingly, the Department maintains the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974, the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Environment Act 1995 and associated legislation as minimum standards. Specifically, the MOD explosive storage and transport committee lays down the policy and standards for the storage and transportation of all conventional military explosives held by the UK MOD and this includes depleted uranium (DU) munitions. These standards are then enshrined as necessary in single service regulations and local depot procedures. The MOD would not consider

24 Jan 2001 : Column: 578W

storing or handling munitions of any type until approved, satisfactory procedures were in place and, as such, they are a pre-requisite of acceptance. In the case of DU munitions, appropriate procedures have been in place since these munitions entered service and, as is common practice, they are routinely reviewed and updated as necessary. We have no evidence to suggest any inadequacy in our current procedures or arrangements for the storage and handling of DU munitions in service, nor of any safety-related incidents which give us cause for concern.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if depleted uranium ammunitions were (a) produced and (b) tested at Royal Ordnance, Chorley. [147050]

Mr. Spellar: Depleted uranium ammunitions have neither been produced nor tested at Royal Ordnance, Chorley.

Mr. Maclennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if depleted uranium-based ammunition is authorised for use at (a) the Tain Air Weapons Range and (b) the Cape Wrath Range by (i) UK forces and (ii) overseas forces; and if he will make a statement. [145909]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 17 January 2001]: Depleted Uranium (DU)-based ammunition is not authorised for use at Tain Air Weapons Range, or at Cape Wrath Range, by either UK forces or overseas forces.


Next Section Index Home Page