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Dr. Moonie: In the Ministry of Defence some 60,000 civilian employees, two thirds of the work force, have the option to retire at any time between age 60 and 65. The MOD has been reviewing the case for giving the remainder, who have a normal retirement age of 60, the same option. Our review is nearing completion and we expect to be able to announce its findings in the next few weeks.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had on changes to the Government's position on nuclear test veterans following the decision of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal in the case of Tom Duggan. 
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Colchester Garrison will be ready for occupation; if he plans to allow the public to view the new buildings; and if there will be an official opening ceremony. 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 18 January 2002]: We expect that the first of the new single living accommodation (SLA) will be ready for occupation by mid-2005, with the remainder, along with the rest of the garrison, completed two years later. There are no plans to invite the public to view either the SLA or the working accommodation. We intend to have an opening ceremony when phase 1 of the private finance initiative is completed.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procedures his Department has to ensure environmental appraisals are undertaken prior to (a) administrative and (b) policy decisions being made. 
Dr. Moonie: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence signed a policy statement dated 7 July 2000 on the Management of Safety and Environmental Protection in the Ministry of Defence. That policy statement requires that, within the United Kingdom, the MOD will carry out environmental policy appraisals of all new and revised policies and equipment acquisition programmes and environmental impact assessments of all new projects and training activities.
The policy statement, together with guidance on the conduct of environmental appraisal and environmental impact assessment, has been published recently as part of Amendment 4 to Joint Service Publication (JSP) 418, the MOD's Environmental Manual.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officials from his Department have attended the environmental appraisal and integration into policy training course run by the Civil Service College. 
Dr. Moonie: No officials from the Ministry of Defence attended the first environmental appraisal and integration into policy training course run by the Civil Service College in July 2001. Details of this course, and others provided by the Civil Service College to support the initiatives of sustainable development, have now been published as part of Amendment 4 to JSP 418, the MOD's Environmental Manual.
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Dr. Moonie: None. The last environmental appraisal published by the Ministry of Defence was the Strategic Environmental Appraisal of the Strategic Defence Review. This document was published in June 2000.
Dr. Moonie: Sustainable development has been identified as an overall theme for the Spending Review. In common with all other Government Departments with a Public Service Agreement, the Ministry of Defence will be reporting on the impact of its Spending Review proposals on sustainable development. That appraisal process will take an integrated approach to the environmental, social and economic elements of sustainable development.
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what external consultants he (a) has engaged and (b) plans to engage to assess the commercial potential of West Freugh airfield in Wigtownshire. 
Dr. Moonie: No external consultants have been engaged by the Ministry of Defence to assess the commercial potential of West Freugh airfield. QinetiQ, which conducts day-to-day operations at the airfield on behalf of MOD, has, with its contractors, studied the opportunities for diversification. This work concluded that there are few commercial opportunities for development of the airfield. MOD has no plans to engage external consultants to assess the commercial potential of the airfield.
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of his Department's Police are employed at DERA establishments and facilities in the UK; and how many were employed in each year since the formation of DERA. 
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence has received the following representations concerning the withdrawal of Ministry of Defence Police officers from the QinetiQ sites at Pendine, Schoeburyness and West Freugh:
One from a member of the public
Three in the form of MP's letters
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Mr. Ingram: There are currently five Army Training Regiments (ATRs) in England and Scotland; there are none in Northern Ireland although Depot Royal Irish conducts initial training for the Royal Irish Regiment and of very small numbers for other Irish Regiments. It is planned to transfer the training functions from the Glencorse site in Scotland to the School of Infantry at Catterick in north Yorkshire. There will be changes to the way in which training is conducted at the remaining four sitesBassingbourn in Cambridgeshire, Pirbright in Surrey, Winchester in Hampshire and Lichfield in Staffordshire. ATR Bassingbourn will concentrate on junior entry training, and the others will conduct non-infantry adult entry training. These changes will take place during the course of this year.
Ms Hewitt: As with any planning decision Ministers have to weigh up all aspects of an application, consider all representationsboth for and againstand come to a decision. In the case of the Cefn Croes application it was concluded that there was sufficient information to approve the application in principle without sending it to a public inquiry.
Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the criteria used by her Department for allowing the erection of wind turbines in upland areas, with particular reference to the importance she places on landscape and visual amenity. 
Ms Hewitt: All relevant criteria set out in planning guidance and environmental assessment guidance are taken into account. I also have a duty under Schedule 9 of the Electricity Act 1989 to have regard to the extent to
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which a person who formulates a proposal has complied with his duty of having regard to the desirability of preserving natural beauty and do what he reasonably can to mitigate any effect the proposal would have on the natural beauty of the countryside. In addition the views of the local planning authority which will be familiar with the local terrain are also taken into account.
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