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Health and Safety

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are taken to protect the hearing of British servicemen and women in the armed forces during active service. [13527]

Mr. Touhig: The Ministry of Defence, like all UK employers, is subject to the Health and Safety Executive Noise at Work Regulations (NAWR) 1989". These require employers to take certain actions where any of their employees is likely to be exposed to noise at or above any of the three action levels set out in the Regulations. MOD procedures meet, and in many instances exceed, both these requirements and those of the Physical Agents (Noise) Directive (PA(N)D), which comes into force in February 2006. The instructions promulgated by the armed forces to their personnel are summarised as follows.


Under the new regulations set out in the PA(N)D, RN warships will have until 2011 to comply with the prescribed weekly and daily limits. In 2003 the RN introduced a hearing conservation programme to ensure compliance with NAWR 1989". This programme requires noise assessments to be carried out where personnel may be at risk from noise-induced hearing damage. Where such a risk is identified commanding officers are required to identify persons at risk, provide those potentially affected with information and awareness training, put in suitable control measures to mitigate this risk, which may include the provision of suitable hearing protection, and ensure that potentially affected personnel are provided with audiometry assessments at a frequency determined by the level of risk. Hearing protective equipment that is available to personnel complies with British Standards.
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Hearing protection forms part of a serviceman's personal equipment that he will carry with him on operations. Additionally, hearing protection is included in the equipment schedule of the equipment that the serviceman may be operating. Whether or not the hearing protection will be worn by an individual at any one time will depend upon the role and duties of the particular individual and will, additionally, be dependant upon the hostile threat.


Where RAF personnel work in an area that is deemed a noise hazard, hearing protection is issued on an individual basis. The wearing of such protection is made mandatory in the RAF at the First Action Level of NAWR 1989", which exceeds NAWR recommendations. In addition, noise assessments are conducted to determine the level and type of hearing protection required, and any member of staff working in such an area is managed via the Hearing Conservation Programme (HCP) which includes annual audiometry testing. This concurs, and in certain areas exceeds, the recommendations made by the NAWR 1989". Whether this protection is worn during times of hostile activity will depend not only on the hostile threat but also the role and duties of personnel involved.

We are also working with HSE on the need for hearing protection for military band personnel.

Management Consultancies

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which five management consultancies received the highest value of contracts awarded by his Department in each of the last three years; and what the total value was of the contracts awarded to each. [12589]

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Mr. Ingram: This information is not held centrally in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However information on organisations, including Management Consultancy firms, paid £5 million or more by the Ministry of Defence in each financial year is published annually in the UK Defence Statistics. Copies are placed in the Library of the House. Summary details of the Department's spend on External Assistance (EA) covering the years since 1995–96 to 2003–04 have also been placed annually in the Library of the House.

Maritime Forces

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date his Department decided to take the risk referred to in para. 2.8 of the National Audit Office report on assessing and reporting military readiness to reduce resource allocations to maritime forces for the first two years of the 2004–05 to 2007–08 planning period; and which Ministers took that decision. [9693]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 7 July 2005]: The decision to reduce the resources allocated to logistic support for the Royal Navy was taken by my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for Defence around the end of March 2004 as part of ministerial consideration of the forward defence programme.

McKinsey and Co.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many contracts have been awarded to McKinsey and Co. since 1 January 2000; how many and what percentage of contract awards followed a competitive tendering process; and what the cost of each contract is. [10809]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 11 July 2005]: The Ministry of Defence has awarded McKinsey and Co. 15contracts since 1 January 2000.

ProjectContract Cost
Development of the DLO (Defence Logistics Organisation) Change Programme Benefits Tracking Process217,000
Support to Equipment Capability200,000
Consultancy Support for the Implementation of the SMART Procurement Initiative340,000
Support to the MOD Change Programme2,223,000
Support to the DLO Procurement Review Group2,445,000
Support to E2E (End to End) Review of Air and Land Environments4,985,000
Re-Invigorating SMART Acquisition within the DPA300,000
Support to the Implementation and Rollout of the DLO Benefits Tracking Tool360,000
Bridging Consulting Support to E2E Detailed Planning1,000,000
Support to the Procurement Reform Project6,996,000
Support to Implementation of E2E Detailed Planning10,625,000
Support to Eurofighter Project182,500
Consultancy Support for the Strategic Partner to the DLO Transformation Programme22,841,280
Consultancy support in applying the principles and techniques of the Lean Process Design to the E2E Support Chain220,000
Consultancy Support to the Business Management System Review75,000

These figures show the cost of each contract: some contracts are not yet completed and further payments are scheduled.

Five of these contracts (33 per cent.) were competitively tendered. In addition, seven contracts (47 per cent.) were placed with McKinsey and Co. on a single source basis, since they related to work that had already been placed with the company following competitive tender.

In addition details of the Department's spend on External Assistance (EA) has been reported to Ministers since 1995–96 and summaries have been placed in the Library of the House.
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Mental Health

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people left the (a) Army, (b) Navy and (c) Royal Air Force due to mental health problems in each of the last 10 years. [13426]

Mr. Touhig: In the 10 year period 1995–2004, 1,355 Regular Service personnel were medically discharged from the UK armed forces due to a condition categorised to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision, Chapter 5 Mental and behavioural disorders". A breakdown by Service and year of medical discharge is provided in Table A.
Table A: UK regular armed forces medically discharged for mental and behavioural disorders, 1995–2004

ServiceArmyNaval ServiceRAF

Medical discharges between the Services should not be compared due to the different fitness levels required by each Service (and within different cadres) and the employment policy of each Service.

Meteorological Office

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State forDefence how many (a) military and (b) civilian weather observation stations and weather centres thereare in the UK, broken down by location; which stations have closed since 2001, broken down by date of closure; and which stations have been identified for closure. [9236]

Mr. Touhig: There are 27 meteorological stations responsible for forecasting and observing based at military locations. Their locations are:




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Northern Ireland

There are eight civil forecasting stations:

There are nine civil observation sites:

The following stations have closed since 2001:

The following station closures are planned:

In addition, it is planned to reduce the operation at Eskdalemuir.
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