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27 Nov 2002 : Column 331W—continued


Mr. Caton : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the viability of contracting out the (a) locating and (b) clearing of unexploded ordnance at the Archers Post training ground in Kenya. [83357]

Mr. Ingram: While some Non-Government Organisations and firms have approached the Ministry of Defence with broad offers to assist with Explosive Ordnance Clearance operations currently carried out by the British Army in Kenya, it is considered that this task can be more competently and comprehensively conducted by specialist Royal Engineer Explosive Ordnance Disposal units. Moreover, given the testing climatic environment, there is considerable training value in such clearance operations being carried out by the units involved.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what clearance techniques for removing unexploded ordnance are met at Archers Post, Kenya; [83358]

Mr. Ingram: After firing of ordnance British Army units training at Archers Post commence a visual search of the surface of the training area with the object of recording and clearing any Xblind" or unexploded munitions before leaving the area. The techniques employed observe and adhere to extant British Army practices and regulations for the disposal of munitions. These procedures are applicable on all sites where the British Army trains throughout the world.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what discussions his Department has held with the Kenyan Government about the future clearance of unexploded ordnance on land in Kenya made for military training by British forces; [83360]

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Mr. Ingram: There is no formal agreement with the Kenyan Government specifically dealing with the clearance of unexploded ordnance from areas used by the British Army for training in Kenya. To assist the Kenyan authorities Exercise PINEAPPLE, an annual Explosive Ordnance Clearance exercise, is conducted at Archers Post and other Kenyan training areas. This is a voluntary initiative of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, undertaken in order to provide a safe training environment. The exercise is conducted in conjunction with Kenyan Army Engineers and its requirement is assessed annually. During each of the years 2000, 2001, and 2002 some four weeks were spent conducting disposals at Archers Post. We plan to repeat this in 2003.

Manning Control Reviews

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many members of (a) the Army, (b) the Royal Navy and (c) the Royal Air Force have been subject to a manning control review in each of the last 15 years; in which regiments of the armed forces the policy of manning control has been practised over the past 15 years; and what the (i) start and (ii) end dates of the policy were; [82128]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 25 November 2002]: The Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force have distinctive manning policies that are designed to meet their different requirements. The hon. Member's question relates to the Army's practice for its non-commissioned personnel and can only be answered specifically for the Army. I shall, however, also outline the nearest equivalent Royal Navy and Royal Air Force procedures.


I refer the hon Member to the answer given on 7 May 2002, (Official Report, column 41) which reported the Army figures for the last five years for those discharged following Manning Control review. The number of soldiers in the Army who have been discharged under Queen's Regulations paragraph 9.413 'Not required for a full army career in each of the last 15 calendar years and by regiment following a Manning Control Point review is summarised in Tables 1 and 2 respectively.

Table 1: Army Manning Control Point discharges by year

YearNumber MCP

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Table 2 Army Manning Control Point discharges by Corps and Regiments

Queen's Own Hussars5
Queen's Royal Irish Hussars5
13th/18th Hussars9
Royal Tank Regiment16
Royal Artillery234
Royal Engineers300
Royal Signals216
Grenadier Guards27
Coldstream Guards21
Scots Guards8
Welsh Guards9
Royal Scots16
Royal Highland Fusiliers40
King's Own Scottish Borderers9
Black Watch23
Queen's Own Highlanders13
The Highland Regiment17
The Gordon Highlanders20
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders27
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment28
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers26
Royal Anglian18
King's Own Royal Border Regiment23
The King's Regiment22
Prince of Wales Own31
Green Howards35
The Royal Irish Regiment50
Royal Irish (Home Service Full Time)27
Queen's Lancashire Regiment36
Duke of Wellington's Regiment22
Devon and Dorset Regiment26
The Cheshire Regiment21
Royal Welsh Fusiliers29
Royal Regiment of Wales16
Gloucestershire Regiment15
The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment15
The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment16
The Royal Hampshire Regiment13
The Staffordshire Regiment47
The Light Infantry31
The Royal Green Jackets21
The Parachute Regiment12
Army Air Corps24
Royal Logistics Corps79
Royal Corps of Transport169
Royal Army Medical Corps43
Royal Army Ordnance Corps78
Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers352
Royal Army Veterninary Corps7
Royal Pioneer Corps11
Intelligence Corps6
Army Catering Corps82
Corps of Army Music6
Women's Royal Army Corps13
Adjutant General's Corps (Staff and Personnel Corps)19
Adjutant General's Corps (Provost)5

While it is not possible to pinpoint the start date, research of the regulations has shown that Army Manning Control policy has been extant since at least 1952. Although the policy remains in being, as the statistics show, manning control points are used infrequently in the current manning climate.

The information requested concerning the number of Army personnel who elected for Premature Voluntary Release in each year since 1996 and who were issued with a manning control warning certificate beforehand is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

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Royal Navy

Royal Naval Ratings and RM other ranks are normally engaged on a 22-year open engagement, which may be curtailed for reasons of inadequate performance or conduct, or reduced employability for medical reasons. RN Ratings and RM other ranks may apply to extend their service beyond 22 years and will be allowed to do so when there is a service requirement. The Royal Navy does not apply a Xmanning control review" to ratings but its manning levels and rates of premature voluntary release are continuously monitored, and recruiting, training and promotion targets are set accordingly.

Royal Air Force

Non-commissioned engagements in the Royal Air Force are normally offered for an initial period of nine years. Individuals may apply to extend their service to a total of 12 or 15 years and will be allowed to do so when there is a Service requirement. Any further service above this is linked to promotion, for example service to 22 years is possible on promotion to corporal.

Medical Reservists

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements are made by his Department to compensate the NHS for medical staff called up as reservists. [83405]

Dr. Moonie: Like all other employers, health trusts may apply for financial assistance to cover the additional costs they incur as a result of their employees being called out. Payments are made in accordance with the regulations set out in Statutory Instrument 1997/309.

Naval Vessels (Refit and Repair)

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those Royal Navy vessels not in service as a result of (a) refits and (b) repairs, together with their anticipated dates to re-enter service. [83585]

Mr. Ingram: In the majority of cases, it is not possible to separate those Royal Navy vessels undergoing repair from those in refit, other than arbitrarily, as all refits and other programmed maintenance periods contain an element of repair work. However, listed in the table are those vessels that, because they are undergoing some form of refit, maintenance or repair, are currently not available for operational tasking. Vessels that can be categorised as solely undergoing repair have been indicated.

RN vessel Anticipated return to service date
HMS BreconFebruary 2003
HMS CampbeltownMarch 2003
HMS Cattistock(18)(19)
HMS Chiddingfold May 2003
HMS ExploitDecember 2002
HMS GlasgowJanuary/February 2003
HMS GloucesterJuly 2003
HMS IllustriousFebruary 2005
HMS InvincibleMay 2003
HMS MiddletonFebruary 2003
HMS MontroseFebruary 2004
HMS MonmouthMay 2003
HMS PenzanceFebruary 2003
HMS Ocean(18)December 2002
HMS PursuerDecember 2002
HMS St. AlbansJanuary 2003
HMS SceptreSecond quarter 2003
HMS SpartanFirst quarter 2003
HMS TrackerDecember 2002
HMS TrafalgarFirst quarter 2004
HMS TrenchantFourth quarter 2003
HMS Triumph(18)Fourth quarter 2002
HMS VanguardThird quarter 2004

(18) Out of service for repair.

(19) Damage sustained on 23 November still being surveyed—too soon to say how long her repairs will take.

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In addition, HMS Nottingham is currently in transit to the United Kingdom on a Heavy Lift Ship following her grounding incident off the west coast of Australia in July this year. No decision has yet been made on her future.

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