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2 Dec 2002 : Column 479W—continued

Ex-Servicemen (Housing Project)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the answer given to the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham on 26 November 2002, Official Report, column 177W, what plans he has to use the housing project for ex-servicemen in Richmond, North Yorkshire, as a model for other projects in England. [84768]

Dr. Moonie: The purpose of the new Galleries short-term accommodation project in Richmond, North Yorkshire, is to provide the very small proportion of new Service-leavers who are vulnerable to homelessness with secure, short-term accommodation while they are helped to develop the confidence and independent living skills necessary to find permanent accommodation and employment in their chosen areas. The aim is to appraise the project carefully so that, where appropriate, lessons learned can be applied by the many government and voluntary agencies that are working in partnership to reduce the risk of homelessness.

Joint Force Logistic Component

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason he has not established a standing headquarters for the Joint Force Logistic Component. [84533]

Mr. Ingram: The Joint Force Logistic Component (JFLogC) concept does not require a standing headquarters. The organisation and composition of a

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headquarters would be determined by the circumstances of particular missions. This allows mission specific factors, such as the scale, duration and complexity, to be taken into account when determining the composition of the headquarters.

Married Quarters

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what relative priority Defence Housing Estates give to refurbishing married quarters in (a) a major garrison town and (b) in more remote individual barracks; [84101]

Dr. Moonie: The Defence Housing Executive (DHE) aims to upgrade core housing stock (ie that required in the longer term) to Standard 1 For Condition (S1FC). No distinction is made as to whether the properties are within a barracks or part of a garrison town.

DHE plans to refurbish 110 family quarters at Hullavington Barracks. The project, which is designed to bring the properties up to SF1C, is due to start in early 2004.

Military Trucks Contract

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when he will make an announcement on the company awarded the military trucks contract; [84084]

Dr. Moonie: The tenders received for the military truck contract have been assessed and the four bidders have been invited to participate in a further round of tendering. Responses are expected early next year, and an announcement on the award of contract is planned for late 2003. Proposals for United Kingdom industrial participation have been included in all the bids.


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the scheduled decommissioning dates for each of the last Hunter class minesweepers. [84378]

Mr. Ingram: On current plans the scheduled decommissioning dates for each of the Hunt class mine counter measure vessels in the Royal Navy are as follows:

HMSPlanned operational decommissioning date

A further three hunt class ships with mine counter measure capability are now configured for use as patrol craft. They are Brecon, Cottesmore and Dulverton, with planned decommissioning dates of 2016, 2022, and 2020 respectively.

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Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many NATO HQs are based in the UK. [84536]

Mr. Hoon: There are three NATO HQs currently based in the United Kingdom. Two at Northwood (Regional Headquarters Eastern Atlantic and Allied Naval Forces North) and one at High Wycombe (a combined air operations centre).

Northern Ireland

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the strength is of service personnel based in Northern Ireland. [84530]

Mr. Ingram: Out of the current total of 14,226 regular armed forces personnel (Army, Navy and RAF) permanently committed to operations in Northern Ireland, there were 14,042 deployed in Province on 28 November 2002. In addition, there are a further 1,039 armed forces personnel temporarily deployed to Northern Ireland as a result of the firefighters dispute under OPERATION FRESCO.

Nuclear Waste

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the value of his Department's nuclear waste and decommissioning liabilities is; and what provision has been made to discharge them. [84266]

Dr. Moonie: The headline undiscounted liability figure which appears in the 2001–02 Departmental Resource Account is £16.6 billion. This compares to £16.0 billion at 31 March 2001. The headline discounted figure for which provision has been made is £3.9 billion. This compares to £3.6 billion at 31 March 2001. Further information is contained in paragraph 16.2 to the notes to the accounts of the Ministry of Defence Consolidated Departmental Resource Accounts 2001–02, which was laid before the House on 21 November 2002, as HC47.

Nuclear Weapons Tests

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent by his Department, in each year since 1972, on monitoring the health impact of radioactive emissions on British service people and medical auxiliaries from (a) atmospheric nuclear tests, (b) other nuclear tests and (c) radiological experiments. [84259]

Dr. Moonie: British atmospheric nuclear testing ceased in 1958. This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Operation Fresco

Mr. James Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) from which budget the additional costs of Operation Fresco will be drawn; [84105]

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Mr. Ingram: Costs will initially fall to a wide range of Ministry of Defence budges, reflecting the many different areas of the Armed Forces involved in providing assistance. No extra funds will be made available to these areas, because MOD will recover the additional costs of the operation from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Because the defence budget will be reimbursed, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has had no discussions about use of the Contingency Fund. It is too early to say how much the military assistance will cost, but in preparing for the strike MOD incurred costs of about 8 million, mainly on purchasing major items of equipment such as protective clothing, breathing apparatus and hydraulic cutting equipment.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether NATO will extend its mandate in Macedonia beyond 15 December; and if he will make a statement. [82556]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 25 November 2002]: NATO has agreed to continue a military presence in succession to Operation Amber Fox in Macedonia commencing on 16 December for a limited period.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether it is government policy that the EU should not take over the peacekeeping mandate in Macedonia unless permanent arrangements for EU-NATO relations are in place. [82557]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 25 November 2002]: The United Kingdom Government stands by the position agreed in the European Council at Seville that the European Union is willing to undertake an operation in Macedonia at the request of the Macedonian Government, once the EU-NATO permanent arrangements are in place.


Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what quantities of plutonium, arising from British experiments at Maralinga in South Australia, remain buried in the desert; what environmental monitoring is conducted of these sites; and what representations have been received from Aborigines who live in the area in respect of the impact on their land. [84268]

Dr. Moonie: The final report of the Maralinga Rehabilitation Technical Advisory Committee is expected to be published early next year. Estimates of the quantity of plutonium left at Maralinga will be in the report. The Maralinga Consultative Group is currently preparing a long-term management plan for the area, which includes routine radiation monitoring and surveillance. The Maralinga Tjarutja traditional owners

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are represented on a consultative committee with the Commonwealth of Australia and South Australian governments. This has met throughout the project and serves as a forum in which to discuss and monitor the work being carried out.

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