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4 Feb 2004 : Column 885Wcontinued
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. 
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.
|Building||Net usable area (m(2))|
|Old War Office||25,396|
|St. Georges Court||20,835|
|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.
4 Feb 2004 : Column 886W
|Building||Net usable area (m(3))|
|Redeveloped Main Building||49,634|
|Old War Office||25,396|
|St. Georges Court||20,835|
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.
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. 
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.
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.
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.
4 Feb 2004 : Column 887W
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. 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. 
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.
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Group, if he will break down the figure (a) by nationalities and (b) by speciality; and what the figures were for January 2003. 
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.
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. 
Mr. Caplin: The Department now reports in Resource Accounting Terms. Budgetary figures from 200203 onwards are therefore not entirely comparable with those recorded for earlier years. Budgets from 200203 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:
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.
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