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4 Feb 2004 : Column 889Wcontinued
Mr. Ingram: 117 Ministry of Defence owned coastal sites are being considered for suitability to store radioactive material from nuclear-powered submarines under Project ISOLUS. Many have been dismissed and I will make an announcement once it has been established which of the remaining sites, or others that may yet be identified, warrant further consideration.
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Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the report of the Defence Aviation Safety Centre into the possible impact on public safety of the relocation of glider squadrons to RAF Halton. 
Mr. Ingram: The Defence Aviation Safety Centre conducted a risk management survey on both RAF Henlow and RAF Halton in late 2003. Copies of the section of the report relating to RAF Halton and specifically the measures to ensure that the Station operates safely have been placed in the Library of the House today. It is expected that the recommendations proposed for RAF Halton will be fully adopted to ensure that the Station continues to operate safely.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether there were breaches of security at RAF Leeming during the evening of 29 November and early morning of 30 November 2003; and whether an unauthorised person was able to approach within about 50 m of the vehicles of the Nuclear Weapons Convoy while parked at RAF Leeming; 
(3) whether the convoy of road vehicles used in the transportation of nuclear warheads to and from RNAD Coulport and the Atomic Weapons Establishments in Berkshire stopped overnight at RAF Leeming on the night of 29 and 30 November 2003; and whether it was carrying nuclear warheads; 
(4) whether for the transport and storage of fissile materials the United Kingdom adopts the security and protection standards prescribed by IAEA INFCIRC/225 Rev 4; 
(5) whether, in addition to IAEA INFCIRC/225, his Department applies further safeguards during transit and storage of nuclear warheads that are equivalent to the United States Department of Energy's stored weapons standard; 
(6) if he will make a statement on security at RAF stations. 
Mr. Ingram: I can confirm that an unauthorised person gained entry to RAF Leeming while a convoy of military vehicles stopped overnight on 29 November 2003 at the base. The person was subsequently escorted off the premises by the Ministry of Defence Police. In accordance with Government policy, I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons at any particular place or time. Security at MOD establishments, including RAF Leeming, is kept under constant review. It would not be appropriate to disclose details of security reviews or their recommendations and I am therefore withholding the information requested under Exemption 1a of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
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However, stringent security and protection standards are applied by the MOD whenever United Kingdom Defence Nuclear Materials are used, stored and transported. These security standards are compatible with IAEA INFCIR/225, and the MOD applies further safeguards during transit and storage of nuclear warheads, which are equivalent to the standards applied by the United States Department of Energy to their nuclear warheads.
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) exercises and (b) training course places involving reservists have been (i) cancelled and (ii) withdrawn in each of the three armed services in the last two years. 
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for changes in (a) manning levels and (b) overall structure of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The staff of Headquarter British Forces Gibraltar are currently reviewing the military and ceremonial tasks of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment to identify the appropriate levels of readiness; to re-validate structures and manpower levels of the Regiment; and to develop the training requirements.
Mr. Ingram: In the Naval Service, the Type 23 frigates are commonly known as Lean Manned ships. The increased use of automation enabled a smaller ship's complement, with an emphasis on skilled maintainers and operators. A consequent reduction in the proportion of junior personnel available for manual tasks has been alleviated by providing additional civilian manpower to undertake cleaning, painting and dining hall support when the ships are in harbour.
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Mr. Ingram: The contract for design, construction and 25 years' support for HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise was awarded in July 2000 at a value of £130 million. The breakdown of this figure into individual elements is commercially sensitive and I am withholding it in accordance with Exemption 7 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to effective management and operations of the public service.
Mr. Ingram: Of the 350 exercises listed annually in the United Kingdom Defence Exercise Programme, 69 were cancelled in 2002, and 151 in 2003. Of those exercises cancelled in the last year, some 10 per cent. were cancelled by nations other than the UK hosting exercises in their own country or sponsoring exercises elsewhere. While specific reasons for cancellation are not available in many cases, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost, many nations' exercise programmes (like the UK's) have been affected in recent years by competing operational priorities.
Mr. Ingram: The currently approved in service date for the First of Class, HMS Daring, is November 2007. This date has not changed since the Type 45 was approved at Main Gate in July 2000, although it is currently under review.
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