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18 Mar 2003 : Column 629W—continued

Postal Services

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out the reasons for the reduction in the permitted weight of parcels being sent to BFPO 660; and if he will make a statement. [103171]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 17 March 2003]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 13 March 2003, Official Report, column 387W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Tony Cunningham).

Research Contracts

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice his Department provides to universities and

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other academic research centres regarding (a) the management of defence research contracts and (b) the sharing of intellectual property. [102210]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence's approach to contracting for research is the same as that used for the other goods and services it purchases and there is no specific additional guidance on the management of defence research contracts. The MOD's general advice is freely available at http://www.dgcom.mod.uk

The MOD fully supports the HM Treasury report "Creating Knowledge, Creating Wealth" (The Baker Report, 1999). In line with the recommendations of that

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report, it has negotiated a new contracting standard, DEFCON 705, which vests ownership of IP with the contractor. This standard has been used for the vast majority of research contracts let by the MOD over the past 12 months.

The MOD has actively contributed to "A guide to Managing IP:—Strategic Decision Making in Universities" available at http://www.patent.gov.uk/about/ippd/bakergroup.htm and is also about to publish "Guideline for Industry No 10—The Intellectual Property Defence Conditions".

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many research contracts were placed by his Department with UK universities and other academic research centres in each of the last five years; and what their values were. [102211]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence recognises the strong science and technology capability of United Kingdom universities as a source of innovation and knowledge of relevant research in the wider non-defence community. It is for this reason that MOD encourages universities to participate in the Defence Technology Centre Scheme.

The MOD has placed almost all of its research work over the past five years with DERA and, since July 2001, with DSTL and QinetiQ. In turn these organisations have sub-contracted with academia in a manner which ensures that the Department's needs are met in an integrated and cost effective manner. MOD does not hold centrally information about the numbers of sub-contracts placed by our contractors with either academia or industry and this could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Information is available, however, for contracts placed directly by the Department with academia for the past four years since the decision was made to increase the level of competition for research work. To date three universities have been awarded contracts valued at £591,000. In addition 10 UK universities have received £2.619 million for their role in successful consortia bidding into the research programme. A breakdown of these figures is given in the following table.

£000

Prime contractorAs part of a consortium
1999n/an/a
20002661,200
2001295213
200201,100
2003 to date30106

The MOD also seeks to further academic research by funding research jointly with the Research Councils through the Joint Grants Scheme. Details of the number of grants are given in the following table.


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£000

Number of grantsValue of grants
1999435,100
2000614,600
2001414,650
2002344,780
2003315,600

Royal Marines

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the additional funding recently made available to the Royal Marines. [102921]

Mr. Ingram: Additional funding was made available to the Royal Marines to meet the additional costs necessarily incurred on Contingency Planning for possible operations against Iraq. This was contained within the £1 billion added to RfR2 Conflict Prevention at Spring Supplementary Estimates 2002–03

Satellite Centre/Institute for Security Studies

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the EU's plan for strengthening the impact of the work being done by (a) the Satellite Centre and (b) the Institute for Security Studies; and if he will make a statement. [102673]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I have been asked to reply.

The UK wants to see both the Satellite Centre and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) make an effective contribution to the EU. We will consider any particular proposals put forward for the Satellite Centre. The Political and Security Committee has tasked the ISS with a work programme for 2003, reflecting the Council's priorities in external relations.

Sierra Leone

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the extent is of UK military deployment to Sierra Leone and the surrounding region during 2003; what estimate he has made of the costs of this deployment; and if he will make a statement. [102942]

Mr. Ingram: The United Kingdom has maintained a twin track strategy in Sierra Leone, supporting the UN mission and providing training, advice and assistance to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) and the democratically elected Government of Sierra Leone. A United Kingdom-led International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT) continues to help build the RSLAF into an effective, professional and democratically accountable force. The HVLATT currently involves some 120 personnel, comprising 108 United Kingdom personnel plus a number of internationals. The annual cost of the IMATT is approximately £15 million.

To display our continued commitment to the settlement process in Sierra Leone on 21 February we deployed a Company Group from 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles plus HQ and supporting elements (eg logistics and medical). HMS Iron Duke and RFA Black Rover have also deployed to Sierra Leone

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as a further demonstration of United Kingdom commitment. The provisional costs of this deployment are in the order of £1.8 million.

There are no other United Kingdom deployments in the region, although the United Kingdom also provides the Chief Of Staff, six HQ staff officers and 15 Military Observers to the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

Training Exercises

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what training exercises have been cancelled as a result of Operation Fresco and Operation Telic. [102571]

Mr. Ingram: Some 70 training exercises listed in the Ministry of Defence's Defence Exercise Programme (which lists some 350 exercises each year) have been cancelled as a result of Operation Fresco and Operation Telic. Information on tactical training exercises organised by the Front Line Commands, the Permanent Joint HQ, the Defence Logistic Organisation HQ and individual units is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

US Bases

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the US Government asked for permission for the US National Guard to be based at (a) RAF Mildenhall, (b) RAF Lakenheath and (c) JAC Molesworth; who gave permission; and how many US National Guard are based at each of the bases. [101689]

Mr. Ingram: The US formally advised us on 3 March of their plans to augment military guard forces at RAF Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall, RAF Croughton and RAF Molesworth with US Army National Guardsmen. The Guardsmen arrived on 10 March, around 230 have been deployed. About 100 have been deployed to RAF Lakenheath, 60 to RAF Mildenhall, 40 to RAF Croughton and 30 to RAF Molesworth. The National Guardsmen will carry out routine access control and other guarding duties under supervision, to 'backfill' permanent security personnel who have been deployed to other duties.

Vaccines

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Keetch), of 10 February 2003, Official Report, column 517W, on vaccines, if he will break down the figures and the percentages they represent by unit. [102806]

Dr. Moonie: I am withholding the information requested under Exemption la of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS

Illegally Imported Meat

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much illegally imported meat has been seized at UK ports and airports in each of the last three years, broken down by (a) type and (b) location. [102158]

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Mr. Morley: A central database of illegal animal product seizures notified to Defra was set up in August 2001, with detailed data going back to April 2001. Little or no data is held centrally for 2000.

The numbers and weights of meat seizures at UK ports and airports reported to us in each of the last three years is shown below. A detailed breakdown of locations of seizures is not provided in order to protect operational details of targeted checks.

Number of seizuresWeight of seizures (kg)
Ports
200140460,544
20023016,091
Airports
200173914,254
2002195318,593

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what arrangements there are with (a) Customs and Excise and (b) the Food Standards Agency (i) to prevent and (ii) to detect illegally imported meat entering the UK. [102159]

Mr. Morley: Currently the Port Health Authorities, Local Authorities and the State Veterinary Service lead on enforcement of controls for detecting smuggled meat. They are supported in this by Customs, who deployed extra resources in this role in 2002. Defra has been funding additional enforcement activity this financial year through temporary Local Authority staff and overtime.

Following the Cabinet Office review of enforcement structures, responsibility for all anti-smuggling activity is to be transferred to HM Customs as soon as practicable, and we are working on a Service Level Agreement. Defra has been leading on implementing the Government's action plan, including a risk assessment, detector dog pilot and design of publicity material. Customs have been providing support. A comprehensive centralised database of seizures has been set up to share information and inform decisions on the targeting of resources.

The Food Standards Agency is an independent agency accountable to an independent board, with responsibility for food safety matters. It co-ordinates the activities of Local Authorities, including Port Health Authorities, on food safety matters and has lead policy responsibility for controls at the border on products of non-animal origin and fish. The Agency is concerned with checks to verify compliance with food safety standards, and has produced a 10-point plan in relation to imported food, including illegal food imports. The Agency is also working closely with Defra on the action plan.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what resources she is committing (a) to prevent and (b) detect illegally imported meat entering the UK; [102160]

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Mr. Morley: The Government have made available a total of £25 million over the next three financial years to tackle illegal imports from outside the European Union of any meat, other animal products and plant products. Final decisions on the allocation of this money in 2003–04 will be made shortly.

In the current financial year, additional measures have been introduced at ports and airports to tackle illegal imports. Temporary agency staff, funded by Defra, have been recruited to carry out checks to detect smuggled goods—teams of six are based at our major airports and teams of two at major seaports. We are also paying for additional checks through overtime elsewhere. Further inspection resources have also been provided through the detector dog pilot, and a publicity campaign which has targeted ports, airports and points of departure.

We expect to lay the legislation shortly, under which HM Customs will take over responsibility for detection, intelligence and enforcement with regard to illegal food imports.


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