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17 Oct 2005 : Column 665W—continued

Air Support Units

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which British air support units are based in Mazar-e Sharif. [18316]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 14 October 2005]: There are no RAF units based at Mazar-e Sharif. One RAF sergeant is located there to assist with air movements.


Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what monitoring of UN human rights recommendations relating to aid provided by his Department to Colombia is undertaken; and if he will make a statement. [16209]

Mr. Ingram: The UK's bilateral military assistance to Colombia is consistent with United Nations human rights recommendations. We use the best information available to assure ourselves that Colombian military units or individuals benefiting from UK assistance are not engaged in activities that violate human rights, or internal repression or are in collusion with paramilitary organisations. This includes personal interviews and
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background checks. Wherever possible, we take all reasonable steps to keep in close contact to maintain this assurance throughout the duration of any project. Our sources of information on possible human rights violations by members of the Colombian security services include the United Nations and independent human rights organisations.

Departmental Estate

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what land and property is in the possession of his Department in East Belfast; and on what terms in each case. [18057]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence has the following lands and properties in East Belfast:


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the deficiencies in project management at DML, identified by his Department in 1996, have been completely rectified; and if he will make a statement. [16505]

Mr. Ingram: As a result of concerns that the Ministry of Defence had about DML's ability to manage a project as complex as D154, the company was subjected to three pre-contract award evaluations, the first in 1994 and the last in 1996. As reported by the NAO in their 1998 report into the sale of the dockyards, DML were subsequently required to implement a number of changes in order to satisfy the Department that they were adequately resourced and structured. These conditions were met and the changes in structure, processes and systems implemented by DML were instrumental in ensuring that key facilities were ready in time for the start of HMS Vanguard's overhaul in 2002. This was a major achievement, a fact that was recognised by the NAO in their 2002 report The construction of nuclear submarine facilities at Devonport".

Fixed Wing Aircraft

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many operational fixed wing aircraft there are in the Royal Air Force, broken down by type. [18221]

Mr. Ingram: The following table shows the number of aircraft available for operations planned to be in service with the RAF at the end of the present financial year, broken down by type.
Fixed wing aircraft

Aircraft typeTotal fleet
C-17A Globemaster4
Canberra PR94
Harrier FA212
Harrier GR84
Hercules C-130J25
Hercules C-130K25
Nimrod MR221
Nimrod Rl3
Sentry E3-D7
Tornado F397
Tornado GR139

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Fleet Auxiliary Support

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he last assessed the needs of the Royal Navy for fleet auxiliary support; what the (a) provision and (b) demand were assessed to be; and what forecast his Department has made of future demand. [18156]

Mr. Ingram: Our requirement for Royal fleet auxiliary support shipping is regularly assessed and we judge that the present fleet of 15 tankers, stores ships and logistic ships is appropriate for the Navy's requirements. As set out on page 18 of Delivering Security in a Changing World (Future Capabilities)" (CM6269) presented to the House in July 2004, we expect that a support fleet of about this size will remain appropriate for the foreseeable future.

Military Equipment

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the self-provision of equipment by HM forces to make good deficiencies. [16506]

Mr. Ingram: Members of the armed forces are not required to purchase their own military equipment. The equipment they are provided with is sufficient and appropriate for the tasks they are required to undertake. I am aware that some personnel do personalise elements of their issued equipment, but this is personal preference and not due to equipment deficiencies.

US Missile Defence Agency

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what requests the Government have received from the US Missile Defence Agency since 2001; how many were related to ground-based interceptors; and if he will make a statement. [15400]

Mr. Ingram: Officials work closely with the Missile Defence Agency on joint technology programmes and to further our understanding of the US ballistic missile defence system. Requests both to and from the Agency relating to information exchange and other matters, including ground-based interceptors, therefore arise on a daily basis and are too numerous to list. The Government have not received a request from the US to base interceptors in the United Kingdom.
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Air Miles

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister how many air miles were accrued through his official travel in 2004–05; how many were (a) foregone and (b) donated to charity, broken down by charity; and whether air miles accrued by officials were required to be (a) foregone and (b) given to charity. [17301]

The Prime Minister: I do not accrue air miles. Under civil service rules, officials are not permitted to use their air miles for private travel.

Climate Change

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister what the outcome was of his discussions with the Indian Government on climate change, with particular reference to the position of the US Administration. [17137]

The Prime Minister: At the 7 September EU-India summit, India and the EU did not make any specific reference to the position of any one country but agreed that urgent action is required by all countries to address the issue of climate change. India and the EU further committed themselves to work together closely on future global negotiations for tackling climate change, consistent with the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) beyond 2012.

I also refer the hon. Member to the India-EU Strategic Partnership joint action plan. This is available on the No. 10 website.

India/China Visits

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list (a) Ministers and (b) officials who accompanied him on his recent visits to (i) India and (ii) China. [17139]

The Prime Minister: Since 1999 the Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. Copies of these lists are available in the Library of the House. Information on the number of officials accompanying me on overseas visits is included in the list. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers. Information for the year 2005–06 will be published as soon as it is ready after the end of the financial year.

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