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6 Jun 2005 : Column 283W—continued

UK Merchant Marine

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what exercises the (a) armed forces and (b) emergency services have carried out with (i) ships and (ii) staff of the merchant marine to prepare for terrorist risks (A) at sea, (B) from the sea to coastal regions and (C) in ports. [795]

Dr. Ladyman: Counter Terrorist (CT) exercises are the responsibility of the Home Office. The Department for Transport (DfT) participates in and facilitates such exercises as necessary. DfT has been involved in six maritime CT exercises since the beginning of 2005.

It is not appropriate to disclose further details about these exercises.

Vision Zero

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transportif he will make a statement on the Vision Zero project. [1825]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department for Transport (DfT) is supporting a research project being conducted by the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York entitled Vision Zero—A Risk Assessment of Adopting a Target of Zero for Road Traffic Accident Fatalities and Serious Injuries. The researchers submitted the idea to the DfT Horizons programme which funds research intended to alert and inform the Department about long-term potential opportunities for, and risks to, achieving our policy and operational objectives.

Work is currently in progress and a report is expected later this year on the Swedish experience of adopting a Vision Zero policy and the potential risks, costs, benefits and opportunities of a 30-year Vision Zero strategy in the UK. Further details about the project are given on the Department's Research Database http://www.rmd.dft.gov.uk where the results of the work will appear on completion.
 
6 Jun 2005 : Column 284W
 

DEFENCE

Scottish Infantry Regiments

13. Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will meet representatives of veterans' organisations to discuss changes in the Scottish infantry. [1928]

Mr. Touhig: My colleagues have had several meetings with interested organisations to discuss these changes, and I look forward to meeting veterans' representatives to address the variety of issues of interest to them. Principal among these will be the many commemorative events in July to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war.

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) complement and (b) strength is of each of the six Scottish infantry regiments; and what it has been in each year since 2001. [1498]

Mr. Ingram: I will write to the hon. Member once the current data for 2005 have been collated. The establishment, trained strength and difference of each of the Scottish infantry regiments from January 2001 to January 2004 are as follows:
HighlandersEstablishmentTrained strengthDifference
2001610495-115
2002(10)665520-145
2003(10)625520-105
2004625525-100


(10)Strength totals for 2002 and 2003 exclude Gurkhas attached to the regiment: 100 in 2002 and 110 in 2003.



Black Watch(11)EstablishmentTrained strengthDifference
2001670565-105
2002675535-140
2003675585-90
2004675635-40


(11)Black Watch totals exclude BW LAD REME.



Royal ScotsEstablishmentTrained strengthDifference
2001610515-95
2002620495-125
2003620525-95
2004620555-65

Royal Highland
Fusiliers
EstablishmentTrained strengthDifference
2001605530-75
2002620530-90
2003620540-80
2004620580-40

King's Own
Scottish Borderers
EstablishmentTrained strengthDifference
2001640585-55
200262064525
2003665630-35
2004670585-85









 
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Argyll and Sutherland
Highlanders
EstablishmentTrained strengthDifference
2001610590-20
2002620580-40
2003625575-50
2004615570-45

1.The figures are at 1 January each year. 2.All figures have been rounded to the nearest five. 3.Totals are for Regular Army officers and soldiers. 4.FTRS have been excluded. 5.Totals include members of other arms/services attached to each regiment.

Defence Procurement

15. Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what reviews have been undertaken of project management arrangements with his Department's procurement processes. [1930]

Mr. Ingram: The Acquisition Policy Board, chaired by the Minister for Defence Procurement, has recently been established to oversee acquisition processes across the MOD. These processes are constantly under review. For example the DPA Forward programme is implementing the Chief of Defence Procurement's stocktake of Smart Acquisition.

In May the National Audit Office published a report on Effective Project Control, comparing the MOD with overseas and industry practice. It identified a number of examples where the MOD compared well to their gold standard" including the refit of HMS Illustrious, the Titan and Trojan engineer tanks and the Future Infantry Soldier Technology project.

Peter Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress in procurement of two new aircraft carriers. [1931]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond), Official Report, col. 979.

Iraq

17. Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on British forces stationed in Iraq. [1932]

John Reid: British Forces are in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi Government, as part of the multi-national effort to help the Iraqi people achieve stability, democracy and prosperity. There are now around 8,500 UK troops in Iraq, providing security and building the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces.

25. Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many reservists are deployed in Iraq. [1940]

Mr. Touhig: As at 1 June the number of Reservists deployed in Iraq was 583.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the security situation in Iraq. [1936]

John Reid: Insurgents continue in their efforts to destabilise progress in Iraq. Despite a recent upsurge, the number of insurgent attacks has declined since
 
6 Jun 2005 : Column 286W
 
the January elections, with Iraq Security Forces conducting a number of anti-insurgent operations, both independently and with coalition support.

Defence Aviation Repair Agency

18. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has completed his review of the future of the Defence Aviation Repair Agency; and if he will make a statement. [1933]

Mr. Ingram: We are examining a range of options for the future of the Defence Aviation Repair Agency. This work is being done objectively, and the basis for any final decisions will rest on the quality of support to the front line and overall value for money.

I hope to be in a position to make an announcement on the way ahead for DARA before the summer recess. We will, of course, be consulting with our colleagues in the Welsh Assembly and the Trades Unions before any final decisions are taken in respect of DARA operations at St. Athan.

Royal Marine Corps

19. Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the role of the Royal Marine Corps over the next five years. [1934]

Mr. Ingram: The Royal Marines will continue to provide the amphibious infantry component of our joint expeditionary capabilities. As part of the Joint Rapid Reaction Force, they will be at high readiness for a range of tasks requiring versatility, high mobility and sustainability. In recent years, the Royal Marines have operated with great success in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland. They are currently introducing important new equipment including Viking protected vehicles and Bowman radios.


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