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15 Oct 2002 : Column 556W—continued

European Integration Conference

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the First Conference of EU Military Schools and Academies on the theme of the military dimension of European integration, held at Coeitquidan. [73863]

Mr Hoon: The European Military Academies Conference on the theme of ''European Integration—The Military Dimension'' was held at the French Military Academy, St Cyr in July of this year. The conference was sponsored by the European Commission. The conference addressed a number of topics related to European Defence, such as possible crisis management scenarios and defence industry cooperation. There was no direct involvement by HM Government or the Ministry of Defence in its organisation.

The Conference was attended by delegates from many European nations including a number of officer cadets and staff from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

RAF Chilmark

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the cost to date of ordnance clearance at RAF Chilmark; and when the site will be put on the market. [72613]

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Dr. Moonie: The cost over the first five years since the closure of the site of clearing explosive ordnance has been in the region of #1.7 million. A further #371,000 has been spent on preparation of Land Quality Assessments and remediation.

RAF Chilmark is currently being prepared for disposal. It is anticipated that the sale of the freehold will take place during 2003 when clearance is complete.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in constituting a trust to manage RAF Chilmark; and if he will make a statement. [72614]

Dr. Moonie: The constitution of a Trust for that part of the former RAF Chilmark which has wildlife and conservation interest is a matter for the interested parties. The Ministry of Defence will not be part of the Trust. Defence Estates is currently in discussion with representatives of the potential Trustees and is waiting to receive their firm proposals for the purchase and management of the site.

Anti-tank Missile Loss (Bristol Channel)

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the pallet of an anti-tank missile lost in the Bristol Channel recently has been found. [73313]

Dr. Moonie: No. Searches of the area have been carried out by the Avon and Somerset Constabulary, the Coastguard, the RAF and, more recently, Royal Navy divers. However, the pallet has not been found.


Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what type of ammunition has been imported to the UK for the use of the army, and at what cost, over the last 12 months. [73314]

Dr. Moonie: In the 12 months up to 26 July 2002, the following types of ammunition have been imported to the United Kingdom for the use of the military:

7.62mm BALL, 21mm ROCKET SYSTEM, 21mm TRAINING SYSTEM, 0.5 4B/IT, .338 LAPUA, 12.7mm 4MP, 12.7mm 1MP, 5.56mm AP, 9mm MARKER, 66mm, GOALKEEPER MPDS, GOALKEEPER FMPDS, 9mm, 66mm, .338mm and 14.5mm Artillery Training L21A1 (Charge 2).

I am withholding information regarding the cost of importing this ammunition in accordance with Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Northern Ireland

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what orders were issued and special arrangements made concerning conduct of service personnel from the Royal Irish Regiment during the marching season in 2002; how many soldiers were subject to disciplinary proceedings that related to inappropriate political activity during this period; and what the outcome was of proceedings. [74162]

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Mr. Ingram: Each year all service personnel serving in Northern Ireland, including members of the Royal Irish Regiment, are reminded in unit orders of the Army's policy regarding participation in political activities and demonstrations. Three soldiers were investigated by the Royal Military Police for possible breach of this policy. At present there is one soldier subject to proceedings.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the procedure is in Northern Ireland for the investigation of a suspicious death or one from non-natural causes on military premises. [74167]

Mr. Ingram: The Police Service of Northern Ireland retain jurisdiction for the investigation of all suspicious deaths that may occur on military premises within Northern Ireland. This is the same procedure and jurisdiction that applies throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the reasons were that underlie his decision to erect a new surveillance tower at Slievebracken Mount, Forkhill in July; what consultation he carried out with locally elected representatives and community organisations; and what the estimated cost is of this construction. [74168]

Mr. Ingram: I believe that the structure you refer to is the temporary water tower on Slievebracken Mountain, Forkhill. It was not a surveillance tower. The Ministry of Defence has crown immunity with regard to planning permission and there was no consultation carried out with locally elected representatives or community organisations. As military personnel carried out the work on this temporary structure there were no costs involved other than those for the construction materials, the cost of irrecoverable items being estimated at some #3,500.

The temporary structure has now been removed.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many baton log reports were filed in each month of the last two years; what information fields are to be filled in by each person involved in the compilation of a report leading up the chain of command to HQNI; which of those fields must be completed and which are optional; and if he will make a statement on the processes involved in the entry of data from baton log reports to (a) a centralised database and (b) other systems. [74166]

Mr. Ingram: The number of baton log reports files in each month over the last two years are set out in the table below:


All fields of the baton log report are completed by the person ordering the firing of the baton round before it is forwarded to HQNI. The information from the baton log is scrutinised by the chain of command in HQNI and is stored in hard copy form as well as on a database.

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Mobile Phones

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the rules are governing the carriage and use of personal mobile phones by service personnel of all ranks on operational duties at home and overseas; and what sanctions are available to superior officers to enforce those rules. [74165]

Mr. Ingram: There are no specific rules that govern the carriage of personal mobile phones by members of the Armed Forces on operational duties; and the use of personal mobile phones during deployments and operations is at the discretion of the local Commander. Joint Service Publication 440 details the regulations concerning the security classification of information that can be discussed on mobile phones. It also authorises commanders to prohibit the use of mobile phones on Ministry of Defence sites and in locations denoted as ''Hazardous Areas'' or in areas containing classified communications equipment. Additionally, although there are no specific sanctions for the misuse of mobile phones, commanders may restrict their use in a geographic location or for a specific period of time for operational reasons. The mechanism for enforcing this is through Theatre Standing Orders. Service personnel who fail to comply with published Standing Orders or with a lawful command would be subject to disciplinary action under normal disciplinary procedures, enforceable through Queen's Regulations.


Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department had with the Department for Trade and Industry regarding the decision to license the export of beryllium to (a) India and (b) Iran in 2001. [74696]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence has regular discussions with the Department of Trade and Industry on all relevant aspects of export licensing. Disclosure of internal opinions, advice, recommendation and consultation on individual export licence issues could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussions. I am, therefore, withholding this information in accordance with Exemption 2 (Internal Discussions and advice) of Part II of the Government's Code of Practice on Access to Government information.

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