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18 Apr 2002 : Column 1072W
of staff at her Department are justices of the peace; and if she has a strategy for her Department to encourage members of staff to become justices of the peace. 
The Department actively supports its staff in giving more time to their communities. Staff are allowed varying amounts of paid time off for voluntary public duties (for example, serving as magistrates or school governors). We aim to raise the profile of volunteering and make it easier for staff to give their time and effort to voluntary work.
Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Minister of State will reply to the letter of 18 December 2001 from the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) about the Hampshire Avon, abstraction and the Habitats Directive. 
Mr. Morley: The dredger Sand Kite collided with one of the piers of the Thames Barrier and deposited a quantity of gravel on one of the operating gates. I understand that the remedial works costs to date have been reimbursed to the Environment Agency from the vessel's insurers and have not therefore resulted in any public cost. I further understand that there is some additional remedial painting and removal of gravel from inside the gate recess, to be carried out this summer, that may not be covered by the insurers and may result in a public cost of some £100,000. This is expected be met from Environment Agency's operational budget with a contribution from the Port of London Authority.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who attended the fisheries meeting of the EU Council of Ministers on 27 November 2001 on behalf of the UK; and who led the UK delegation. 
Mr. Meacher: The Government published on 17 April 2002 a consultation paper on the future of the landfill tax credit scheme. It seeks views on the priorities for funding from revenue currently spent through the landfill tax credit scheme, the merits of different funding mechanisms
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and any transitional arrangements. The results will feed into the decisions to be made as part of Spending Review 2002.
Mr. Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the transfer of responsibility for the movement of nuclear weapons in the United Kingdom from the Director General Equipment Support (Air) to the Warship Support Agency. 
Mr. Ingram: The transfer of responsibility for the movement of nuclear weapons from the Director General Equipment Support (Air) to the Warship Support Agency was completed on 26 March 2002. The Ministry of Defence's commitment to nuclear safety and security was maintained throughout the transfer process.
Mr. Hoon: The supplement to the 2002 report of the armed forces pay review body making recommendations on the pay of service medical and dental officers has been published today. Copies of the supplement are available in the Vote Office and the Library of the House. I wish to express my thanks to the Chairman and members of the review body for their work in producing this supplement.
The Review Body recommends an overall pay increase of 4.6 per cent. for all Defence medical services medical and dental officers with the exception of qualified general medical practitioners who will receive an increase of 6.8 per cent. The review body also recommends a 4.6 per cent. increase to the sustained quality payments for general medical practitioners; an increase in trainer pay and a small increase in the value and numbers of distinction awards. In addition, there is a recommendation, which will be reviewed next year, for the introduction of an out-of-hours supplement of £5,000 applicable to junior doctors.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the shortfall is in the number of pilots for (a) Sea Harriers and (b) RAF Harriers; and what steps the Department is taking to reduce this number. 
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|Force||Established flying posts||Strength|
(3) This reflects the overall commander, lieutenant commander and junior officer requirement for Sea Harriers, including cockpit manning (front line and training), naval broadening within fleet appointments, staff appointments and exchanges for commanders and below.
(4) Comprises wing commander, squadron leader and junior officer posts on front line squadrons, operational conversion units, operational evaluation units and wing appointments. In addition to the established flying posts, fast jet pilots are required for instructional duties within the RAF's flying training system, overseas exchange posts, the RAF Aerobatic Team and a number of ground duties shared by all General Duties Branches.
Addressing the current aircrew shortfalls is a key priority and a number of actions have been taken to reduce the impact of these shortfalls. These include increasing the number of fast jet pilots entering into productive service, returning some middle ranking officers to flying duties and recruiting trained pilots released by the Royal New Zealand Air Force. To improve retention two new financial retention incentives were introduced on 1 April 2002, each linked to a commitment to five years further service.
Mr. Ingram: As at 16 April 2002, there were a total of 54 RAF Harrier GR7s and 29 Sea Harrier FA2s in the Actual Operating Fleet. The Actual Operating Fleet is the total number of aircraft available to undertake the defined military task, and may vary day to day.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Harrier force will leave service; when the joint strike fighter will enter service; and how many JSF aircraft will be procured. 
Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 28 February 2002, Official Report, columns 145152W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer), the Sea Harrier FA2s of Joint Force Harrier will be withdrawn from service by 2006.
The joint strike fighter has been selected as having the best potential for meeting our FJCA requirement and is currently planned to enter UK service in 2012. Work is currently on-going on numbers required, but our current planning assumption is for some 150 aircraft.
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Mr. Ingram: On 16 April 2002, there were 821 fixed wing aircraft and 162 rotary wing aircraft in the RAF's Actual Operating Fleet. The breakdown of this figure by aircraft type and number is detailed in the following table.
|Aircraft type||Number of aircraft|
|Fixed wing aircraft|
|BAe 125 ccMk3||6|
|BAe 146 ccMK2||2|
|Sea Harrier FA2||29|
|Sea Harrier T8||4|
|Sentry E-3D AEW Mk1||6|
|Rotary Wing Aircraft|
|Chinook Mk 2/2a||31|
|Merlin Mk 3||9|
|Sea King Mk 3/3a||25|
|Aircraft type||Number of aircraft|
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Harrier aircraft will operate under the Joint Force Harrier; and what improvements will be made to the GR9 Harrier to allow the separate Harrier forces to integrate. 
Mr. Ingram: I assume my hon. Friend to be asking for the number of Harrier aircraft that will operate under Joint Force Harrier following the withdrawal from service of the Sea Harrier by 2006 and that he is referring to improvements planned to the Harrier GR7 aircraft when he asks what improvements will be made to allow the separate Harrier forces to integrate.
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Following the withdrawal from service of the Sea Harrier, the Required Operating Fleet of the Joint Force Harrier is expected to be 51 aircraft. The Required Operating Fleet is the theoretical number of aircraft required by the operational squadrons to undertake the defined military task.
Thirty Harrier GR7 aircraft will be upgraded to GR7 a standard by the integration of the Pegasus Mk 107 engine. This will provide improved performance, particularly for carrier borne operation. Furthermore, all Harrier GR7 and Harrier GR7a aircraft will receive avionics and weapons upgrades to provide the aircraft with a much improved capability, in particular the ability to deliver the new generation of smart weapons that are about to enter service. These aircraft will be designated Harrier GR9 and Harrier GR9a.
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