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In the last six months, Ministry of Defence has received three written requests for information on the sale details of RAF Aston Down. The first letter was sent in September 2004, and subsequent requests were made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Personal details of the correspondent are being withheld under the Data Protection Act.
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Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will reply to the letter about the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers which was sent to him by the hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham on 8 December 2004. 
Mr. Caplin [holding answer 14 March 2005]: All Infantry training is conducted at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) at Catterick. There are no plans for Scottish Infantry recruits to be trained anywhere else in the UK apart from at ITC Catterick.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list the occasions between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2004 when special advisers attended meetings with external representatives at which Ministers were not present; 
Mr. Caplin: Ministry of Defence special advisers have many regular meetings with a wide variety of external bodies as a routine part of their duties. All meetings held by departmental special advisers are conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answers to the hon. Members for North Tayside (Pete Wishart) and for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond), of 2 March 2005, Official Report, column 1234W, on Trident, whether he has made an estimate of potential casualties in the west of Scotland arising from a catastrophic malfunction of a Trident nuclear warhead at the base on the Clyde that leads to a nuclear yield; and whether he has made an estimate of potential casualties in the west of Scotland arising from a malfunction of a Trident nuclear warhead at the base on the Clyde that resulted in a radioactive release short of a nuclear yield into (a) the atmosphere and (b) the Firth of Clyde. 
Mr. Hoon: There is no requirement under Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001 to assess the number of potential casualties arising from a malfunction of a Trident nuclear warhead at the base on the Clyde and no estimates have therefore been made. However, it is highly unlikely that any catastrophic malfunction of a Trident warhead, resulting in a radioactive release into the atmosphere or the Firth of Clyde, would occur.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence at what times in each of the last four years emergency services have been called to handle (a) fire, (b) smoke and (c) electrical malfunction at the Explosives Handling Jetty at the Royal Naval Armament Depot at Coulport on Loch Long; and on which of these occasions nuclear material was within (i) 50 yards, (ii) 100 yards and (iii) 500 yards of the incident. 
Mr. Ingram: Since March 2001, there have been eight occasions when smoke or electrical malfunction has led to the Defence Fire Service (DFS) being called to the Explosives Handling Jetty (EHJ) at the Royal Naval Armament Depot at Coulport on Loch Long. There have been no fires. All incidents were addressed promptly and none posed a threat to personnel, submarines, the facility or nuclear material.
|April 2001||Smell of burning. False alarm.||None|
|May 2001||Electrical malfunction. Smoke.||Submarine within 50 yards|
|October 2002||Electrical malfunction. Smoke.||None|
|October 2002||Smoke from vehicle engine.||None|
|March 2003||Electrical Malfunction. Smoke.||None|
|April 2003||Smell of burning. Overheating battery.||None|
|August 2004||Electrical Malfunction. Smoke.||Submarine within 50 yards|
|September 2004||Smell of burning. False alarm.||Submarine within 100 yards|
The EHJ is fitted with a comprehensive and sensitive fire detection system which reflects the value of the facility and the activities undertaken there. Flammable material is strictly controlled and constitutes only a
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small percentage of the EHJ construction. A vigorous precautionary approach is taken to all alarm triggers and all are attended by the on-site Defence Fire Service (DFS).
Nuclear material is strictly controlled throughout the Depot and is not stored on the EHJ. While nuclear material onboard a submarine is likely to be within 100 yards of the EHJ, any fire on the jetty would present negligible hazard to the onboard nuclear material because submarine design limits the risk from external hazards.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the operational costs of (a) the UK nuclear warhead programme, (b) the Trident submarine programme and (c) the warhead delivery system were in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The combined capital and running costs of the United Kingdom nuclear warhead programme, the Trident submarine programme and the warhead delivery system was around 3 per cent. of the annual defence budget for financial year 200304. The total cost for the current financial year is not yet available.
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