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Defence Aviation Repair Agency

Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the annual cost was of inter-site travel by personnel of the Defence Aviation Repair Agency in (a) 1999–2000 and (b) 2000–01. [25131]

Mr. Ingram: The travelling expenses details for personnel travelling between the sites of the Defence Aviation Repair Agency are not recorded separately and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Government Defence Logistics

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people are employed in Government defence logistics work in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) Telford. [25108]

Mr. Ingram: As at 19 December 2001, the number of people employed in the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) in the United Kingdom is 31,829. The number of people employed in the DLO in the Telford area is 2,544.

Cluster Bombs

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 4 December 2001, Official Report, column 223W, on cluster bombs, if he will include unexploded ordnance clearance in the package of measures he supports aimed at minimising the risk to civilians; if he will support measures to restrict the targeting of cluster bombs so as to protect civilians; and if he will consult Landmine Action before finalising his policy towards discussions on a new protocol addressing explosive remnants of war. [24510]

Mr. Ingram: It is entirely appropriate that cluster bombs should be included in international discussions in the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons aimed at minimising the hazard to civilians from explosive remnants of war. International law already exists to restrict the targeting of cluster bombs and other munitions so as to protect civilians, in the form of Article 51 of the First Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions, to which the United Kingdom is a State Party. The Ministry of Defence will consult widely in developing policy towards discussions on a new protocol addressing explosive remnants of war.

Naval Vessels

Mrs. Ann Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what means of inspection and deduction were used to determine the safety case for HMS Sovereign, HMS Superb, HMS Sceptre, HMS Spartan, HMS

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Splendid, HMS Trafalgar, HMS Turbulent, HMS Tireless, HMS Torbay, HMS Trenchant, HMS Talent and HMS Triumph. [24912]

Mr. Ingram: The Reactor Plant Safety Justifications for Royal Navy submarines aims to demonstrate, through detailed calculation and reasoned argument, that the risks of operation are acceptable and as low as reasonably practicable. The large suite of documentation that forms the safety case is structured around a detailed and comprehensive set of Safety Principles and Safety Criteria. These prescribe the aspects to be considered and include such items as: the basis of design; use of proven engineering practice and technology; system integrity; maintenance and testing; reliability; inspection and results; human and equipment failures; and operation in conditions where a fault has occurred. A range of different tests and inspections are used to certify key components of the reactor plant.

RAF Cottesmore (Joint Harrier Force)

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the percentage serviceability is of the joint Harrier force based at RAF Cottesmore. [24990]

Mr. Ingram: On 18 December 2001, 73 per cent. of the Harriers used in the three front line squadrons, including those for training at RAC Cottesmore, were fully serviceable, 6 per cent. were undergoing minor scheduled servicing and the remaining 21 per cent. were unserviceable with faults that could be resolved within the squadrons' own capability. All those aircraft not fully serviceable could have been made so within three days, if required.

Brigade Reorganisation

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many extra deployable troops will result from his reorganisation of (a) 52 (Lowland) Brigade and (b) Headquarters 2 (South East) Brigade. [25100]

Mr. Ingram: The two light infantry brigade headquarters (52 Lowland) Brigade and 2 (South East) Brigade) are being re-roled from regional brigade headquarters to provide better command and control arrangements for the light infantry role battalions, all of which are currently deployable. Thus the reorganisation of the two brigades will not result in an increase in the number of deployable troops. The change will bring greater coherence to the way that these units prepare for operations, through improved co-ordination of training.


Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to reduce British forces in (a) Germany and (b) Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [25038]

Mr. Ingram: The Strategic Defence Review made it clear that the forward basing of ground forces in Germany would remain a key aspect of British defence policy. In order to create a better balance between 1 (UK) Armoured Division stationed in Germany and 3 (UK) Division based in the United Kingdom we decided to withdraw around 2,500 troops from Germany. Phase one of the withdrawal was completed at the end of 1999. The remaining elements will take some years to complete.

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There are no immediate plans for troop reductions in Northern Ireland. The force levels within Northern Ireland are kept under constant review and are dependent on the Police Service of Northern Ireland's threat assessment and used for support. The Army's counter-terrorist and public order role in the Province will remain for as long as the police require military support to maintain law and order.

Garrison Radio Stations

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to support garrison radio stations. [24991]

Mr. Ingram: On 1 July 2001, a two-year pilot project was initiated to provide Army radio broadcasting in Aldershot, Bulford/Tidworth, Catterick and Colchester. By 7 January 2002, all four garrison stations will be broadcasting full time and are funded to remain on air until 1 July 2003. The radio stations will be broadcast predominantly on AM with some trial broadcasts being made in FM in accordance with radio authority regulations.

Garrison Radio Ltd., the contracted radio service provider, is offering a comprehensive local communication and welfare radio service at the four locations. Gurkha language services are also broadcast in appropriate garrisons.

In addition to broadcasting around the clock, a variety of news and features packages concentrating on local garrison items are compiled on a daily and weekly basis and made available as an audio download package on the internet. All these news and features packages are accessible through the Army website at


Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on when the Government will sign the contract for the A400M. [24180]

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with partner countries on the announcement of the signing of the contract for the A400M. [24513]

Mr. Hoon: On 18 December 2001, I signed an inter-Governmental memorandum of Understanding to allow the A400M contract to be placed. The contract itself was signed on the same day by the Organisation for Joint Armaments Co-operation (OCCAR), on behalf of the partner nations, and by the contractor Airbus Military. It provides for the development and manufacture of 196 aircraft in a single launch order. The UK's share is 25 aircraft. OCCAR will manage the programme to standards agreed by the partner nations.

The A400M contract will enter into force once final Bundestag approval has been given to the German commitment. The agreement of other nations, including the UK, is subject to the German signature becoming effective. If this has not happened by the end of January 2002, these authorisations will lapse, providing a further opportunity to review the position.

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I am content that the programme now agreed with Airbus Military satisfies the conditions that I set out in my announcement to the House on 16 May 2000 for our participation in the A400M programme. Specifically:

Depleted Uranium

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armour piercing and hard target penetrating warheads containing depleted uranium have been tested in (a) Scotland and (b) Dumfries and Galloway in each of the last 10 years. [18233]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 26 November 2001, pursuant to the reply, 5 December 2001, c. 342]: With reference to the number of depleted uranium projectiles fired in Scotland in each of the last 10 years, it has been brought to our attention that there is a typographical error against the figure quoted for 1994. The correct figure should read 455 and not 4,555. All other information contained within my reply of this date is correct.

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