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Mr. Ingram: The decisions announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence last year, 16 December 2004, Official Report, column 195, were approved by the Army Board at its meeting on 14 December.
Mr. Gerald Howarth:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the British
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military contribution to date to assist in the tsunami relief operation; on what dates military units were deployed; and what their destinations were. 
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence, along with other Government Departments, has reacted quickly in responding to this disaster, with the focus being on assisting the UN through DfID, with whom we are working very closely, and providing direct relief where appropriate.
The frigate HMS Chatham (which carries two Lynx helicopters) was redirected to the area on 30 December, arriving on 3 January and the support ship RFA Diligence, already in the region, joined Chatham off Sri Lanka on 5 January. These vessels have undertaken a number of relief tasks, including assistance to the town of Baticoloa in the east of Sri Lanka, and provision of engineers to the Maldives to assist with refurbishment of generators and desalination equipment. Chatham and Diligence have worked closely with an Observation Liaison and Reconnaissance Team (OLRT) which deployed to Colombo on 31 December, part of which also deployed to the Maldives on 6 January.
Royal Air Force C-17 and C-130 transport aircraft have also been assisting in the aid operation since 31 December, through the delivery of UN infrastructure equipment and medical and other relief supplies into the worst affected areas.
The Indonesian Government have accepted an offer of additional technical support in the form of two helicopters from the Gurkha Garrison in Brunei. These two Bell 212s are planned to deploy to the area on 12 January.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many items of electrical equipment were used by his Department in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by (a) cost and (b) number of each type of item. 
Charlotte Atkins: The Department has a large and diverse estate of some 1,681 properties containing substantial amounts of electrical items from computers to plant and equipment. To provide the annual numbers and costs details for all these items would take a significant amount of time as they are not separately recorded and would be at disproportionate cost.
Charlotte Atkins: I would refer the hon. Member to my answer given to him today (UIN ref 205734) as the same circumstances apply to providing the information on electrical equipment owned by the Department.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's policy is in relation to the storage of documents and the use of shredders; and whether this policy has been reviewed in the past 12 months. 
Charlotte Atkins: Documents are stored either close to where they are used or by an off-site storage contractor. Material of no value as a record is disposed of, preferably by recycling, as soon as it is no longer required. Documents that form part of the official record are stored until they reach the end of their retention periods or they are selected for permanent preservation and transferred to The National Archives. When they are no longer required, official records are disposed of by shredding or other appropriate means and paper is recycled where practicable. Retention periods are determined on the basis of business need and guidance issued by The National Archives. Further details can be found at: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/recordsmanagement/.
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 10 January 2005]: Any penalties subsequently imposed by courts for other offences may incorporate a penalty for non-notification, but the court statistics only record the prime offence(s). There are no statistics available for this specific offence of failure to notify changes.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's policy is in relation to the storage and deletion of e-mails; and whether this policy has been reviewed in the past 12 months. 
Charlotte Atkins: The Department continues to implement well established policies and procedures for the review and disposal of files in accordance with its administrative needs and the Public Records Act.
E-mail messages that form part of the official record are saved for as long as business needs require and stored corporately in accordance with departmental record management procedures. Further e-mail guidance can be found at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/electronicrecords/advice/pdf/managing_emails.pdf
The Department's staff are encouraged to limit the amount of e-mail held in electronic mailboxes and to dispose of e-mail in accordance with the policy. This policy has not changed in the last 12 months.
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Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent on entertainment by his Department in each year since 1997, broken down by (a) food, (b) alcohol, (c) staff and (d) accommodation. 
The Department does not keep separate records on spend on entertainment broken down between food, alcohol, staff and accommodation. For information on the costs of entertainment incurred by the central Department during 200203 and 200304, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 10 May 2004, Official Report, column 12W.
Charlotte Atkins: The terms of reference for the experimental boards are set out in the annex to the report "Evaluation of Experimental Regional Transport Boards" which was published on 22 December 2004. http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_localtrans/documents/page/dft_localtrans_033632.hcsp
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the costs were of setting up the Experimental Regional Transport Board for (a) the South East of England and (b) Yorkshire and the Humber. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Marine Safety Act 2003 gives the Secretary of State the power to instruct a vessel to secure safe anchorage if in his opinion an accident has occurred to or in the ship, the accident has created a risk to safety or a risk of pollution by a hazardous substance and the instruction is necessary to remove or reduce the risk.
Mr. Jamieson: Changes to existing harbour limits or proposals for new limits are applied for by existing or candidate harbour authorities by way of harbour orders under the Harbours Act 1964. The Secretary of State will consider the applications on the merits of each case and after public consultation.
Mr. Jamieson: Harbour limits have been set in local legislation applying to individual harbours authorities. Changes to limits, or the setting of new limits, are made by way of harbour orders submitted under the Harbours Act 1964 to the Secretary of State for determination, and promoted by existing or potential harbour authorities.
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