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4 May 2004 : Column 1447W—continued

Sustainable Development

Norman Baker: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what steps he is taking to promote the delivery of sustainable development within Government. [167741]

Mr. Alexander: Promoting the delivery of sustainable development within Government is the responsibility of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), but one for which all Departments have a role to play.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with DEFRA to ensure that sustainable development is embedded into all of the Departments operations. For example, the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) template has recently been amended to incorporate DEFRA's Integrated Policy Assessment (IPA) tool. Departments must now identify not only economic costs and benefits but also any social and environmental costs and benefits for all major proposals.


Cluster Bombs

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cluster bombs are stockpiled by the Ministry of Defence, broken down by type. [169956]

Mr. Ingram: Stockholdings of cluster bombs are held at an authorised War Reserve stock figure. Details of the precise numbers of weapons could provide a potential adversary with information that could undermine our defence capabilities. This information is therefore withheld in accordance with Exemption 1 (Defence, Security and International Relations) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
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Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when current stockpiles of (a) BL-755 cluster bombs and (b) RBL-755 cluster bombs will become obsolete; what plans his Department has (i) to replace them and (ii) to destroy them; and if he will make a statement. [169957]

Mr. Ingram: On current plans all stockpiles of the BL755 and the RBL755 cluster bomb will be withdrawn from RAF service before the end of the decade. The IBL755 will be withdrawn from service by the end of this year. Existing stocks of all three variants will be disposed of through recognised de-militarisation procedures.

Based on current predictions these weapons will not be replaced. However, it is intended that the Brimstone advanced air-launched anti-armour weapon will replace the capability of the RBL755 in the anti-armour role.

Defence Personnel (Vale of York)

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) role and (b) specialisation is of the Royal Naval personnel serving in the Vale of York. [170003]

Mr. Caplin: Royal Naval Personnel are employed at the Defence High Frequency Communications Service facility at Forest Moor. Their role is to provide specialist military oversight and guidance to the contractor who operates the site. Personnel are drawn from the Weapons Engineering and Operator Mechanic (Communications) specialisations.

The RN also has a small number of personnel based at Linton-on-Ouse who are Qualified Flying Instructors, and a number of RN student pilots undertake training here on an annual basis.
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Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory's revenue has been derived from QinetiQ; and what proportion of its outgoings have been paid to QinetiQ since the creation of QinetiQ. [169388]

Mr. Ingram: In 2001, the Defence Research and Evaluation Agency was split to form the PPP QinetiQ, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

Since vesting the income derived by Dstl from QinetiQ by financial year is as follows:
Financial yearIncome (£ million)

Dstl expenditure with QinetiQ since vesting by financial year is as follows:
Financial yearExpenditure (£ million)

Departmental IT Infrastructure

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the advantages and disadvantages of privatising IT infrastructure in his Department; [168386]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of privatisation of IT infrastructure in his Department on national security. [168385]

Mr. Ingram: These questions have been answered with respect to the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) programme. The Ministry of Defence is currently in negotiations with two potential commercial Delivery Partners (DP) for the provision of information systems services for Ministry of Defence.

It should be noted that the DII programme is not a privatisation of IT infrastructure. Under the terms of the Public-Private Partnership arrangement, the MOD will continue to own the infrastructure but the delivery of the service will be the responsibility of the commercial Delivery Partner.

The DII programme is crucial to the delivery of the Defence Change Programme and has the potential to support delivery of significant benefits across Defence. The DII programme will enable Defence to realise a greatly increased capability at reduced cost. The three main benefits of DII are:

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No disadvantages to the implementation of the DII programme have been identified.

The DII programme will not increase threats to national security. Deployed operations will continue to be supported by Service personnel. Increment One of the programme currently consists of 72,000 workstations. Only 10,000 of these are currently supported by in-house staff. The remainder are already supported by commercial service providers.

As a key part of providing a Network Enabled Capability, DII will improve national security both on deployed operations and in the United Kingdom. As a pan-defence service, it will greatly improve the ability to exchange operational information within the MOD, between the three Services, and between fixed locations and deployed elements of the Services.

RAF Bases

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the investment appraisal of the proposed move of most of the activities of RAF Boulmer to RAF Scampton. [169163]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 28 April 2004]: A list of the principal options considered during the study into the future basing of the RAF's Air Combat Service Support Units and other minor units, including RAF Boulmer, has been made widely available during the course of the study. Defence officials have also given the right hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members a personal briefing. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I have written to the right hon. Gentleman with information on the relative costs in investment appraisal terms, of maintaining Boulmer as now and moving units to RAF Scampton. Copies of these letters have been placed in the Library of the House.

In my written ministerial statement of 23 April 2004, Official Report, column 30WS, I indicated the option I am inclined to accept. I will not make a decision on the outcome of the study until formal consultation with the Ministry of Defence Trade Unions is complete. While this process is continuing, I am withholding details of the Investment Appraisal in accordance with Exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to internal discussion and advice. In the meantime, I am placing a list of the principal options considered in the Library of the House.

Parliamentary Questions

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to be able to write to the hon. Member for North Down with the information requested in her question ref.151328. [170094]

Mr. Ingram: Further to my answer of 2 February 2004, Official Report, column 746W, the information requested is still not available due to serious computer failure. As it is proving impossible to retrieve
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information by this means within a reasonable timeframe, we are looking at other ways of providing the information requested. I would hope to be in a position to write to the hon. Member in the next few weeks.

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