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single IT system for recording and controlling stocks; and what practical difficulties are still to be addressed. 
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what permanent arrangements have been put in place to formalise structures and procedures for consultations between EU and NATO; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The arrangements for consultation between EU and NATO are set out in Annexe VII to Annexe VI of the Presidency Conclusions of the December 2000 Nice European Council. The arrangements for consultation outside times of crisis, as set out in part II of Annexe VII, are now in place.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether ferry services in and out of Portsmouth harbour were suspended on 26 and 27 October due to dangerous weather conditions; who made the decision as to whether to suspend the services; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: In the event of adverse weather conditions, it is for individual ferry operators to decide whether to suspend services or not. Weather conditions affect some types of vessels more than others, and some ferry operators suspended their services while others did not.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to supplement the Fleet Air Arm with additional pilots from foreign and commonwealth countries in order to achieve full manning for the 150 F35 aircraft, once they are acquired. 
Mr. Ingram: As announced by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Bach, on 30 September, it has been decided to purchase up to 150 short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) versions of the Lockheed Martin F35s to meet the future joint combat aircraft (FJCA) requirement for the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. These aircraft, which are due to enter service in 2012 with the first unit of a new class of carrier, will replace both the land and carrier-based Harrier aircraft of Joint Force Harrier.
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No final decision on aircraft numbers has yet been taken. The current planning assumptions to procure up to 150 includes not only front-line aircraft, but also provision for training, maintenance, trials, and attrition.
It is planned that, as with Joint Force Harrier, both Royal Navy and Royal Air Force pilots will fly the F35 aircraft when it enters into front-line service. The exact requirements for front-line crews for the successor joint force have yet to be determined by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. On current planning assumptions it will not be necessary to supplement aircrew manning of the joint force from foreign and Commonwealth countries, as we are confident we will be able to fully man the force with regular Royal Navy and Royal Air Force pilots. However, as with all current operational and training squadrons, exchange personnel from foreign and Commonwealth countries may well fill some posts.
A study by a team at Manchester Royal Infirmary who analysed the levels of paraoxanase in blood samples collected by researchers at Guy's, King's and St. Thomas' School of Medicine (blood sample collection was not Ministry of Defence funded). Work is now complete and the results are expected to be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
The Gulf Veterans' Medical Assessment Programme (GVMAP) established in 1993, continues to see patients following a referral from their doctors. Patients seen at the GVMAP undergo a battery of standard tests and if clinically justified, further tests are carried out. The clinical findings for 3,000 service and ex-service patients who attended the GVMAP in the period between 11 October 1993 and 18 June 2001 were published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine on 1 October 2002.
Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when a decision will be made as to where HMS Nottingham will be repaired upon its return to the UK from Australia; what the procurement process will be for the repair work that is needed to HMS Nottingham; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 22 October 2002, Official Report, column 143W, to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock). Bids from those companies invited to tender for any repair work will be assessed during
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Until the full damage assessment is complete, and repair options have been considered, it is not possible to say when St. Albans will be able to resume her programme of operational training. Initial indications are that this might be achieved early in 2003.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the latest assessment is of the work needed to repair HMS St. Albans; how long this work will take; who will pay for it; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The extent of the damage sustained by HMS St. Albans is still being assessed, and until this completed it is not possible to determine how long the repair work will take. An investigation into the circumstances which led to the incident is underway and pending its outcome it is premature to say where repair costs will fall.
Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has lead Government responsibility for counter-terrorist policy and security within the United Kingdom, and maintains oversight of the measures being taken to strengthen the United Kingdom's ability to respond to the terrorist threat. The armed forces make an important contribution in support of the police through their specialist skills and capabilities.
Following the attacks on 11 September, as part of the Government's wider assessment of the implications for the United Kingdom, the Ministry of Defence undertook a detailed review of its contribution to home defence, based on the principles outlined in the Strategic Defence Review of 1998. The result was the SDR New Chapter, published in July this year. This outlined enhancements to the command structure for provision of support to the civil authorities and proposals for an enhanced role for the Reserves.
The SDR New Chapter reaffirmed the need to take the fight to the enemy overseas to prevent, deter and disrupt attacks, but it also recognised the need to be better prepared to respond to a threat to the United Kingdom itself. Since 11 September 2001, we have improved our capability to intercept renegade aircraft
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Dr. Moonie: The Royal Navy Southern Diving Group's search report is currently being finalised. When it has been completed I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
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