21 Mar 2002 : Column 443W

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 21 March 2002


Porton Down Volunteers

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 15 October 2001, Official Report, column 936W, regarding the 1973 report prepared at Porton Down, on what dates the Ethics Committee overseeing the human experiments at the Chemical Defence Establishment scrutinised this experiment; and if he will place in the Library copies of the papers of the committee which relate to the discussion of this experiment. [43477]

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

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the report produced by the Chemical Defence Establishment, Porton Down in 1985 entitled "Pyridostigmine pre-treatment and neuromuscular transmission in man—a study using single fibre electromyography". [43445]

Dr. Moonie: Yes. This technical note reports preliminary results and analysis. The full results and final conclusions of the work in which Service volunteers who had been exposed to a low dose of Sarin and monitored over a number of years using single fibre electromyography have already been published entitled: "Single fibre electromyographic changes in man after organophosphate exposure" (Human and Experimental Toxicology 1996, 15, 367–75).

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a list of the common and chemical names of the vesicants which have been tested on Service volunteers at the Chemical Defence Establishment, Porton Down during the Service volunteer programme; and if he will list the numbers of Service volunteers who were tested with each of these vesicants. [43452]

Dr. Moonie: At present there are no definitive figures detailing the numbers of Service volunteers who have been exposed to vesicant agents or all the agents which were used. However, it is believed that some 8,000 individuals have participated in studies which have involved the use of the following two vesicants:

In addition, a small number of volunteers may have been exposed to the following two vesicants during the Service volunteer programme:

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Test and Evaluation Centres

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of the BUTEC and Rona test and evaluation ranges, and if he will make a statement. [44428]

Dr. Moonie: The BUTEC and Rona ranges are Ministry of Defence facilities operated by QinetiQ under contract to MOD. They provide a comprehensive range of test and evaluation facilities, for which the MOD has a continuing requirement.


Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the quality difference between shells manufactured in (a) the USA and (b) the UK by BAE Systems. [43392]

Dr. Moonie: All munitions, irrespective of the country of manufacture, must meet the Department's same high quality requirements and rigorous safety standards before entering service with the UK armed forces.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what means he plans to apply benchmark prices to munitions. [43394]

Dr. Moonie: Benchmarking is already an integral part of the Framework Partnering Agreement (FPA) between Royal Ordnance Defence (ROD) and the MOD. A specific Benchmarking Working Group, comprising both MOD and ROD staff, has been established within the FPA and currently uses two techniques to monitor benchmarking. These techniques are comparative analysis and performance analysis.


Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how long-term security of supply for explosives is defined in the Framework Partnering Agreement between his Department and ROD. [43396]

Dr. Moonie: The Department entered into a Framework Partnering Agreement with Royal Ordnance Defence in 1999. Long-term security of supply is not specifically defined within the agreement; however, both parties are committed to a long-term relationship and continuous dialogue on matters of mutual interest, including security of supply.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much explosive used by his Department was bought from the USA in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [43393]

Dr. Moonie: In the last 12 months, the Ministry of Defence has not bought explosive substances from the USA.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if the ROD Framework Partners Agreement includes the plant in Bridgwater; [43399]

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Dr. Moonie: The Royal Ordnance Defence (ROD) facility at Radway Green is explicitly included in the Framework Partnering Agreement because of the organisational structure of the Company. Beyond this, individual ROD facilities are not specifically included or excluded from the Agreement.

Depleted Uranium

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the training exercises that have

21 Mar 2002 : Column 446W

taken place on the Eskmeals and Kirkcudbright training areas over the last five years and the regiments that have been involved. [43424]

Dr. Moonie: The training exercises (broken down by type of training) that have taken place on Kirkcudbright training area within the last five years, and the formations or units that have been involved are shown in the table:

Year and frequency
Formation training (non-firming exercises)Formation/unit19971998199920002001
Extended period operational trainingHQ Northern Ireland00008
Exercise Eagles Eye16 Air Assault Brigade00001
Exercise Eagles StrikeQueens Own Yeomanry00010
Operational training5 Airbourne Brigade00100
Exercise Northern Lights3 Royal Marines Commando00100
Exercise Swift Hawk5 Army Air Corps00841
Exercise Executive Stretch107 Brigade01210
Individual trainingInfantry Training Centre Catterick261172
Exercise Deep George1 Reconnaissance Brigade20002
Field firing39 Regiment Royal Artillery20000
Field firing32 Regiment Royal Artillery01000
Field firing101 Regiment Royal Artillery00100
Field firing9 Royal Irish Regiment00300
Field firingA Company Kings Own Scottish Borderers00100
Field firing3 Squadron Royal Air Force00040
Field firingA Company Black Watch00010
Non-firing exercisesOfficer Training Corp Glasgow10000
Non-firing exercisesC Company Lowland Volunteer11000
Non-firing exercisesScottish Yeomanry10000
Non-firing exercises105 Air Defence Regiment Royal Artillery20000
Non-firing exercises4/5 Irish Rangers10000
Non-firing exercises27 Transport Regiment01000
Non-firing exercises245 Provost Company01000
Non-firing exercisesCampbell College01000
Non-firing exercises4/5 Royal Irish01000
Non-firing exercisesRoyal Ghurka Rifles01000
Non-firing exercises24 Field Ambulance01000
Non-firing exercises3 Royal Highland Fusiliers01000
Non-firing exercises152 Field Ambulance00120
Non-firing exercisesScottish Transport Regiment00200
Non-firing exercises9 Royal Irish Regiment00300
Non-firing exercises162 Squadron Royal Corps of Transport00100
Non-firing exercisesUnited States Navy SEALs00100
Non-firing exercises101 Regiment Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers00100
Non-firing exercises52 Lowland Regiment00010
Non-firing exercises204 Field Ambulance00010
Non-firing exercisesRoyal Marines Reserves Scotland00001
Non-firing exercisesOfficer Training Corps (Northumbrian)0001

Eskmeals is not used in support of training activities for any of the three services. The site is owned by the Ministry of Defence and operated by QinetiQ who provide test and evaluation services in support of the UK armed forces on a variety of medium to heavy calibre weapon systems.

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