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10 Feb 2003 : Column 511Wcontinued
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on recent research on the possible link between pyridostigmine bromide and brain cell damage. 
Dr. Moonie : I will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Tornado, (b) Harrier and (c) Jaguar RAF aircraft have been flown in combat operations during their operational lives; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what land assessments and additional studies have been undertaken by the Government or agencies on behalf of the Government with respect to (a) past
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and (b) current activities and the environment at RAF Portreath at Nancekuke in Cornwall in the last 30 years. 
Dr. Moonie: The following environmental surveys have been undertaken at RAF Portreath in the last 30 years:
|Water Sampling by National Rivers Authority||1990|
|Quarterly Water Sampling by Defence Scientific and Technical Laboratory (DSTL)||1999-on going|
|Phase 1 Land Quality Assessment by RAF Command Scientific Support Branch||19992000|
|Phase 2 Land Quality Assessment by Enviros Aspinwall Consultants||200001|
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the capability of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker fleet to supply the Royal Navy. 
Mr. Ingram: In July 2000 we commenced a detailed study to determine the long-term requirement for future afloat support, including the capability currently provided by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. As a direct result of this work, a number of broad future requirements were identified, and I informed the House on 17 July 2002 of the formation of the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) Integrated Project Team (IPT). The MARS IPT is currently in the early stages of investigating potential solutions to the delivery of Future Afloat Support. At this stage it is yet to be decided the exact mix of vessel type and numbers required to provide this capability and the method by which the capability will be acquired. We expect this programme to deliver the first elements of this future capability by the end of this decade. In the meantime, we remain receptive to innovative and cost effective proposals from industry and industrial consultation is in progress.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the costs of upgrading armed services accommodation in Germany in each year from 199899 to 200910; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: Expenditure on routine improvements to accommodation in the garrisons in Germany before 200203 forms part of their overall property management budget and this expenditure is not recorded centrally.
However, approximately £3.2 million extra was spent in Germany during 200102, as part of Project READER, to provide early improvements to single living accommodation.
In addition to the completion of Project READER this year, specific programmes are being developed to upgrade over 8,000 quarters owned by the German Federal Government between 2003 and 2012. Over the
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next 10 years we also intend to upgrade 5,400 single living bedspaces to en-suite in line with improvements planned for the United Kingdom.
In total, we expect to spend some £3.6 million on these projects during 200203. The detailed programme between 2003 and 2010 has yet to be finalised. Total costs are provisionally some £360 million.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his Answer of 28 January, Official Report, column 852W, on service personnel, what is the (a) establishment and (b) actual number of operators and engineers for the Containers Handling Rough Terrain Fleet; and how many are (i) reservists (ii) medically downgraded, (iii) on active service and (iv) deployed on operations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The right hon. Adam Ingram MP holding answer 6 February 2003 Tradesmen of all three services who use Mechanical Handling Equipment could be expected to operate and maintain the small Container Handling Rough Terrain (CHRT) fleet. There is no dedicated establishment of operators for this one equipment and it is not therefore possible to answer the specific questions posed.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many tanks were owned by the UK armed forces in each year since 198081; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The United Kingdom armed forces owns a fleet of 386 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks. For previous years, the information is included in the Ministry of Defence Performance Report (1997 onwards) in the table showing Army Equipment Holdings within the scope of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. For the period 1991 to 1996 the information was published in the Statement of the Defence Estimates (SDE) for each year. Prior to 1991, this information was provided in the SDE but in a different format, based on the force structures at that time. These documents are held in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British troops are being asked to sign disclaimer forms prior to receiving injections as part of preparations for possible deployment to the Gulf. 
Dr. Moonie: There is no requirement for Service personnel who are offered vaccination to sign any waivers or disclaimers, whether they accept the vaccinations or not. All vaccinations are administered on a voluntary basis and as part of the individual giving their informed consent to receive the vaccination, they are advised of the consequences of their refusal, and of any possible side-effects of the vaccine. Units may, if required, maintain administrative records of which personnel have received the necessary briefings, or need to be re-offered boosters, so that the continuity of immunisation programmes can be maintained. None of
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these records constitutes a legal waiver or disclaimer, and none supplants the Ministry of Defence's responsibilities in respect of the health and safety of Service personnel.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the Type 23 frigates which (a) will and (b) will not be fitted with Sonar 2087. 
Mr. Ingram: It is planned to fit Sonar 2087 in twelve of the sixteen Type 23 Frigates. The first six are likely to be HMS Westminster, Northumberland, Richmond, Somerset, Grafton and Sutherland. The other six ships have yet to be selected.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to reduce the total of Type 23 frigates. 
Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 16 January 2003, Official Report, column 710W, to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr Hancock) and to the answer my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence gave on 30 April 2002 Official Report, column 746W, to the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin).
Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the conditions under which armed forces personnel may obtain (a) payment of (i) university fees and (ii) other expenses and (b) repayment of university-related debts previously incurred in civilian life; how many (A) men and (B) women obtained such payments in the last academic year; and what the total cost of such payments was. 
Dr. Moonie: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his latest estimate is of the value of the land and buildings owned by his Department and its agencies in Germany; what proportion of the buildings are vacant; what plans there are to dispose of these assets; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence does not own any buildings or facilities in Germany. The barracks and buildings which are used are provided by the German Government under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and Supplementary Agreements.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what evidence he has assessed on whether the anthrax vaccine to be used by UK troops in the Gulf protects (a) against the strain of anthrax reportedly held by Iraq and (b) for long periods. 
Dr. Moonie: We have set out our assessment of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction. Iraq admitted to UNSCOM in 1995 that it had produced anthrax as a biological weapon fill for ballistic missile warheads and
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bombs. It declared that it had possessed a number of different strains of the micro-organism. There is no evidence to suggest that Iraqi Forces possess a strain or strains of anthrax that would defeat the United Kingdom anthrax vaccine or other vaccines. Independent medical advice confirms that immunisation is safe and effective against anthrax used as a biological weapon. No vaccine is 100% effective which is why we use it in concert with other defensive measures including respirators, protective clothing and other medical countermeasures such as antibiotics.
Immunisation against anthrax requires an annual booster to maintain a sufficient level of protective immunity.
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