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HMS Gannet

Ms Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to extend the use of HMS Gannet for anti-submarine warfare beyond April 2002. [149852]

Mr. Spellar: Beyond April 2002, HMS Gannet will be used as a forward operating base for anti-submarine warfare activated as and when required, as well as a permanent base for search and rescue operations.

Ms Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he has made in securing an alternative MOD use for the site of HMS Gannet when it ceases to operate on anti-submarine warfare function in 2002. [149853]

Mr. Spellar: No alternative military use has so far been identified by my Department. Naval Air Command is currently reviewing the options for the provision of single living accommodation (SLA) as part of the conversion of HMS Gannet to a forward operating base. One option could be to retain the SLA on the Greensite, but no decisions have yet been taken.

Ms Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will consider the availability of adjacent sites to HMS Gannet in his assessment of its alternative future use by his Department. [149854]

Mr. Spellar: No alternative military use for the Greensite at HMS Gannet has so far been identified. The availability of adjacent land has been taken into account, as have the very strict commercial aviation safety regulations which would constrain any development.

Defence Estate

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) the properties from the Defence Estate (i) disposed of since July 1988 and (ii) scheduled for disposal by June 2002 and (b) the disposal receipts (i) received and (ii) estimated to be received by June 2002. [148938]

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

Defence Medical Services

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on employing short- term locums by the Defence Secondary Care Agency in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [149894]

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

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mess facilities are available to DMS officers at the Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham; when a dedicated officers' mess for personnel at the centre will be established; and if he will make a statement. [149895]

Dr. Moonie: Currently, there are no dedicated mess facilities for Defence Medical Services (DMS) officers at the Centre for Defence Medicine, which is to open in April in Birmingham. In the short-term, arrangements are

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being made to hold some mess functions at other officers' mess facilities in the local area. Several options to provide mess facilities in the longer term are now being explored. Precise time scales cannot be determined, but we envisage having such facilities in place within about four years.

Royal Navy Aircraft (Radar Altimeters)

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which RAF and Royal Navy aircraft are fitted with RADALT; if he plans to introduce RADALT as standard across all aircraft; and if he will make a statement. [149898]

Mr. Spellar: Radio altimeters (RADALT) are fitted to the following Royal Air Force and Royal Navy in-service aircraft types:

A feasibility study is under way to determine whether radar altimeter fitment to RAF Hawk aircraft would be practical.

Hawk Crash (Cumbria)

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the conclusions and recommendations of the inquiry into the fatal crash of a Hawk aircraft over Cumbria in October 1999; what steps his Department is taking to address the conclusions of the inquiry; at what cost; and if he will make a statement. [149897]

Dr. Moonie: The RAF board of inquiry into this accident concluded that the aircraft deviated from a safe flight path and hit the ground.

The board recommended that consideration should be given to the fitting of either a ground proximity warning system (GPWS) or a radar altimeter (RADALT) to the Hawk fleet. Due to compatibility difficulties with the existing avionics and the anticipated remaining life of the Hawk fleet, the fitting of a GPWS is not being pursued. However, the feasibility of fitting RADALT to the fleet is being explored as a matter of urgency. The board also recommended that a voice channel should be incorporated in the Hawk accident data recorder (ADR) and this is currently being investigated.

The costs associated with the fitting of RADALT or a voice channel in the ADR have not yet been determined.

A further minor recommendation, with no safety implications, concerned a revision to post-crash management procedures. This is being done, with no additional costs.

Low-flying (Northumberland)

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many hours of low-flying are logged per day by pilots over Northumberland; how many days of low-flying there are per year over Northumberland; which countries the pilots who practise low-flying over Northumberland are from; and if he will make a statement. [149896]

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Dr. Moonie: From information available for the last three years, the number of hours low-flying booked by aircraft in low-flying area (LFA) 12, the airspace over Northumberland, Durham and north-east North Yorkshire, was as detailed:

Total hours booked in LFA 12

It is likely that LFA 12 would have experienced some low-flying on most weekdays.

In 1999 there were 1,917 fewer hours flown than in 1997, a reduction of 39 per cent.

An annual statement on the pattern of low-flying in the United Kingdom is produced by the MOD, and this is placed in the Library of the House. The next annual statement will be published in the summer and will cover the period from April 2000 to March 2001.

Detailed statistical information by LFA is not held of the country of origin of those pilots flying in the UK low-flying system. However, during 2000 foreign aircraft took part in less than 0.5 per cent. of the total sorties booked in the UK low-flying system.

International Criminal Court

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will take steps to ensure the protection of military personnel from prosecution for their activities in both operational and non-operational activities in the proposed International Criminal Court; and if he will make a statement; [150032]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 12 February 2001]: A principal purpose of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Bill now before Parliament is to ensure that UK service personnel are protected from malicious or ill-founded prosecution by the ICC. The Ministry of Defence has been closely involved with the legislative details to guarantee this.

The Bill has been constructed to achieve this protection by using the principle of complementarity embodied in the ICC statute. Complementarity means that individuals cannot be tried before the ICC if they have been subject to genuine and effective national legal investigation or proceedings. Any allegations of war crimes against UK service personnel would therefore be dealt with by the UK and not by the ICC.

All offences included in the ICC Bill are already reflected in international law, and the armed forces are already bound by them in their conduct of operations.

To preserve the principle of complementarity, it is essential that domestic law allows investigation and, where necessary, prosecution of all offences contained in

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the ICC statute. The ICC Bill accordingly defines offences exactly as in the ICC statute. To do otherwise, or to exclude service personnel from the provisions of the Bill, would leave them without full protection from malicious or ill-founded allegations and prosecutions.


Work Permits (Professional Sport)

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many work permits have been issued to non-European Economic Area (a) professional basket ball players, (b) golf professionals, (c) rugby football union players, (d) rugby football league players, (e) horse racing jockeys, (f) cricket players, (g) ice hockey players and (h) association football players in (i) England and Wales and (ii) Scotland in (A) 1996-97, (B) 1997-98, (C) 1998-99 and (D) 1999-2000. [148882]

Ms Hodge [holding answer 7 February 2001]: Information held by the Department does not distinguish between England and Wales, and Scotland, and it does not separately identify rugby football union players from rugby football league players. As the seasons between the different sports overlap, for ease of reference the information requested has been presented by calendar year.

Professional basketball players8592708887
Golf professionals00000
Rugby players227261204180158
Horse racing jockeys123336
Cricket players189239263285352
Ice hockey players6655526479
Association football players5353677876

Figures include all approvals for work permits, work permit extensions, and change of employers.

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