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4 Feb 2004 : Column 885W—continued

Civil Servants

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much space, expressed in square metres, the Department occupies for the offices of civil servants in (a) central London and (b) Greater London. [150289]

Mr. Caplin: MOD headquarters activity is currently carried out in six buildings in central London. Both military and civilian personnel occupy office space. The net usable area of these buildings, not including circulation, columns and walls, to the nearest square metre, is laid out in the following table.

BuildingNet usable area (m(2))
Metropole Building15,528
Northumberland Avenue10,285
Old War Office25,396
St. Georges Court20,835
Great Scotland Yard(1)4,631

(1) Includes circulation.

The Main Building redevelopment project completes in 2004. Following reoccupation the MOD will dispose of four of the buildings listed in the table. Headquarters activities will be concentrated in two Whitehall sites, with one further building in central London, as part of an overall reduction in staff in central London from over 12,500 in 1990 to less than 5,200 by the time the project completes. The net usable area for these buildings, to the nearest square metre, is as follows.

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BuildingNet usable area (m(3))
Redeveloped Main Building49,634
Old War Office25,396
St. Georges Court20,835

In addition the Department occupies parts of three other buildings in central London, including the Met Office London Weather Centre, totalling some 4,355 square metres.

A relatively small number of civil servants are based at operational and other military establishments throughout Greater London. Information on the proportion of these establishments used for office space is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of staff employed within his Department are over 55 years of age; and what (a) number and (b) percentage of staff recruited over the last 12 months are over 55 years of age. [145770]

Mr. Caplin: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him on 20 January 2004, Official Report, columns 1130–34W, by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office.

Driver Training

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received on the resources available for driver training in the armed forces. [152303]

Mr. Ingram: No specific representations have been received regarding the resources available for driver training in the armed forces. However, in common with all other aspects of individual training, the resources available are under constant review.

European Armaments Agency

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the appointment of the Head of the European Armaments Agency. [150784]

Mr. Hoon: The European Union's General Affairs and External Relations Council decided on 17 November last that a new European Agency should be created in the fields of defence capabilities development, research, acquisition and armaments.

The Head of the Agency will be the EU High Representative for European Foreign and Security Affairs, Javier Solana.

It was announced on 29 January that a Ministry of Defence official, Mr. Nick Witney, currently Director General International Security Policy, has been appointed to lead the Agency Establishment Team.

The Government welcome these developments and look forward to the Agency contributing to the strengthening of defence capabilities of the European Security and Defence Policy and Europe's contribution to NATO.

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Forces Bases (Wales)

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces are based in Wales. [152246]

Mr. Caplin: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 November 2003, Official Report, columns 324–25W, to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Mr. Llwyd).


Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what protection from radioactive fallout is offered to UK forces in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [148294]

Mr. Ingram: In accordance with NATO agreed definitions the Ministry of Defence defines fallout as the return to lower atmospheric layers and to earth of radioactive substances projected to high altitude, and contaminated particulate matter and debris absorbed into the cloud of a nuclear burst. Fallout will result from the detonation of a nuclear weapon. Radiological contamination can occur from the use of a radiation dispersion device. The likelihood of either occurring in Iraq is currently assessed as low.

MOD has safety instructions on the measures to protect personnel from radioactive fallout, radiological contamination and Environmental Industrial Hazards. The measures the military adopt follow UK best practice for nuclear protection.

Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British troops are deployed in Iraq. [150149]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 26 January 2004]: As at 27 January 2004, there were around 10,000 United Kingdom personnel in Iraq.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of (a) tanks, (b) armoured personnel carriers and (c) other equipment used by troops from Welsh battalions stationed in Iraq were fully upgraded for use in desert conditions; and what the cost was of these upgrades. [151745]

Mr. Ingram: The only Welsh battalion to have deployed on Operation Telic to date is 1st Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Wales (RRW), which does not operate Main Battle Tanks. 1RRW operates Warrior and FV 430 armoured personnel carriers and these were considered fit for use in desert conditions and were not modified for this purpose prior to or during operations. The unit also operates Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) [CVR(T)]. These vehicles were also considered fit for use in desert conditions and were not modified for this purpose prior to or during Operation Telic.

Units will also utilise other Combat Support Vehicles in theatre. These include Battlefield Ambulances of which all those deployed on Operation Telic were modified for use in desert conditions under an Urgent Operational Requirement at a cost of £8,000 per vehicle.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 21 January 2004, Official Report, column 1247W, about the Iraq Survey

4 Feb 2004 : Column 888W

Group, if he will break down the figure (a) by nationalities and (b) by speciality; and what the figures were for January 2003. [151538]

Mr. Hoon: The figure of 1,272 personnel in the Iraq Survey Group is broken down as follows:

United States1,210
United Kingdom52

United Kingdom contribution consists of 31 Service personnel (Army 20, Royal Air Force 7, Royal Navy 4) serving as Headquarters staff, Signals staff, EOD staff, Collection Team Commanders and interviewers/interpreters; and 21 civilians who are scientific and technical specialists. The breakdown by specialism of other coalition members' contributions is a matter for their Governments.

There are no comparable figures for January 2003 as the Iraq Survey Group was not established until June 2003.

Ministry of Defence Police

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the budget of the Ministry of Defence Police has been in each of the past five years in current prices; and what the planned budget is for the next three years. [152238]

Mr. Caplin: The Department now reports in Resource Accounting Terms. Budgetary figures from 2002–03 onwards are therefore not entirely comparable with those recorded for earlier years. Budgets from 2002–03 are broken down into Resource Defence Expenditure Limit (DEL), Capital DEL and Annual Managed Expenditure (AME). The Ministry of Defence Police budget figures, at then outturn prices, were as follows:

£ million
Resource DEL141.932
Capital DEL1.160
Resource DEL151.716
Capital DEL1.795

Budgets for future years are set at the appropriate time.

Night Vision Goggles

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the overall allocation is of night-vision goggles to the (a) Royal Navy and Royal Marines, (b) Army and (c) Royal Air Force. [149878]

4 Feb 2004 : Column 889W

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 22 January 2004]: NVGs used by aircrew are not allocated on a Service basis. NVGs are issued to Front Line Commands according to operational requirements and as such, the numbers vary on a day to day basis. As at 31 December 2003, 307 aircrew NVGs were held by CINFLEET, 882 by Joint Helicopter Command (which operates both Army and RAF helicopters) and 865 by RAF Strike Command. A further 287 aircrew NVGs were undergoing repair or maintenance at designated regional repair facilities. NVGs can be operated only in helicopters that have been specifically modified for this role and are fitted to allow operation with NVGs according to their tactical role in operations.

In addition to aircrew NVGs the following quantities of night vision weapon sights and goggles are held:

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