Previous Section Index Home Page

RAF Bases (Scotland)

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what investigation has been carried out into the security implications of the suggested commercial use of RAF bases in Scotland; what the outcome was of this investigation; and if he will make a statement; [58291]

22 May 2002 : Column 365W

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 21 May 2002]: As part of the Government's wider market initiative, RAF Strike Command is considering the feasibility for commercial exploitation of irreducible spare capacity at RAF Leuchars. No other airfields in Scotland have so far been considered. The RAF Leuchars study is at an early stage with the team currently examining whether commercial exploitation of irreducible spare capacity is feasible. As a part of this work, consultants have sought the views of the airline operator community; however, the detailed findings are commercially sensitive. The feasibility study has no remit to address the issue of what the costs might be for a commercial airline company to operate scheduled services from RAF Leuchars. Initial indications suggest that there might be some irreducible surplus airfield capacity at RAF Leuchars. However, until the Ministry of Defence formally seeks proposals from industry as part of an open and competitive process, my officials cannot fully evaluate the potential for the commercial exploitation at RAF Leuchars. A security assessment has not been undertaken at this stage of the feasibility study.

Some three weeks ago, Ryan Air expressed an interest in introducing new routes into Scotland, possibly using RAF airfields. Their formal proposals are awaited. No Ministry of Defence Minister or official has met representatives of commercial airline companies to discuss the commercial use of RAF stations in Scotland. Apart from occasional use by civil air operators permitted by existing MOD regulations, no formal proposals have been put forward by airline companies for the operation of scheduled services from any of the RAF stations located in Scotland.

Departmental Main Building (PFI Project)

Mr. Bacon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the total professional fees were for the redevelopment of his Department's main building, broken down by the (a) payer and (b) payee; [57810]

22 May 2002 : Column 366W

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

Exercises (Spending)

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total spend has been on exercises for each of the services in the past four years. [56194]

Mr. Ingram: Exercises are a fundamental activity for all military units not on operations at every level. To isolate, identify and cost the requested information, even if it were possible, could be done only at disproportionate cost.

Annington Homes

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the houses sold back to Annington Homes have been (a) grade 1, (b) grade II, (c) grade III and (d) grade IV since 1996; how much was spent on the repair and renovation of these houses in each year since 1996; and if he will make a statement. [57350]

Mr. Ingram: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, it has generally been the practice to upgrade to Standard 1 for Condition those properties which are required as longer term core stock for service family occupation. Those which are not so required are disposed of, mainly by handing them back to Annington Homes Ltd., to whom the equity in the housing stock (in England and Wales) was sold in 1996.

Flying Hours

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average number of flying hours in each of the last 12 months for pilots in (a) 9 Squadron, (b) 12 Squadron, (c) 14 Squadron, (d) 31 Squadron, (e) 617 Squadron, (f) 11 Squadron, (g) 25 Squadron, (h) 43 Squadron, (i) 111 Squadron, (j) 6 Squadron, (k) 41 Squadron, (l) 54 Squadron, (m) 1 Squadron, (n) 3 Squadron and (o) 4 Squadron was. [57803]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: The following table details the average number of flying hours for each month from April 2001 to March 2002 for crews in the Squadrons listed:

Squadron no.April 2001May 2001June 2001July 2001August 2001September 2001October 2001November 2001December 2001January 2002February 2002March 2002

22 May 2002 : Column 367W


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the European Union will be ready to take over in the autumn Operation Amber Fox in Macedonia. [57794]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: NATO has been invited by the Macedonian Government to extend the mandate of Operation Amber Fox for a further four months until 26 October 2002. The Netherlands will take over from Germany as lead-nation on 26 June 2002.

At Barcelona, the European Council expressed the European Union's availability to take responsibility for a follow-on to the NATO mission in Macedonia, Operation Amber Fox, following Macedonian elections set for 15 September 2002, and if the Macedonian Government so requested. The offer was conditional on the permanent arrangement on EU-NATO co-operation ("Berlin Plus") being in place by then.

At the present time no decision has been reached on the requirement for any follow-on mission.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what types of weapons of mass destruction are held by the United Kingdom. [58079]

Mr. Hoon: There is no universally accepted definition of the phrase "weapons of mass destruction", but it is generally held to refer to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The UK possesses no chemical or biological weapons. It holds nuclear weapons lawfully, and is one of the category of nuclear weapons states as defined in Article 9(3) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Next Section Index Home Page