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25 Jan 2006 : Column 2123W—continued

Wild Mammals

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the operation of The Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996. [42301]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government are satisfied with the operation of The Wild Mammals Protection Act 1996.

DEFENCE

C-130 Hercules

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the defensive aids fitted to each (a) C130K and (b) C130J. [43369]

John Reid [holding answer 19 January 2006]: The following defensive aids are currently employed on the Hercules C130K and C130J fleet:

Only Hercules with appropriate defensive countermeasures are deployed to operational theatres.

Information relating to the defensive aids employed on each C130K and C130J airframe is being withheld because it would be likely to prejudice the security of the UK's armed forces.
 
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Departmental Staff

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to relocate staff in his Department and related agencies into London and the south-east. [31747]

Mr. Touhig: The Ministry of Defence is fully committed to relocating 3,900 posts out of the south-east under the Lyons review. All relocation proposals are judged on the basis of value for money as demonstrated in a business case. A proposed move into London or the south-east must therefore offer significant value for money, efficiency and business benefits.

Currently the only confirmed move of posts into the south-east is a result of the collocation of the two existing RAF headquarters into a single integrated HQ at High Wycombe. This is an element of the Ministry of Defence's efficiency programme and will achieve significant manpower and financial savings, but will result in a net increase of 96 posts at High Wycombe.

There are some other proposals which might entail a move of posts into the south-east, the business cases for which are at varied stages of consideration. As at 20 January, however, none have been approved.

There are no confirmed or proposed relocations into London.

Documentary Guidance (Evidence/Documentary Access)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is with regard to (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department giving evidence to the (i) Scottish Parliament, (ii) National Assembly for Wales and (iii) Northern Ireland Assembly committees; and to what categories of document he gives (A) full access, (B) restricted access and (C) no access to (1) the Scottish Parliament, (2) National Assembly for Wales, (3) Northern Ireland Assembly and (4) House of Commons select committees. [37396]

Mr. Touhig: Requests for the attendance of Ministers or officials to give evidence to the devolved legislatures, and for the provision of information to the Assemblies, will be considered on a case by case basis. This consideration will reflect: the principles set out in the Cabinet Office guidance Departmental Evidence and Response to Select Committees" (July 2005); the policy outlined in the Department for Constitutional Affairs' Devolution Guidance Note #12 Attendance of UK Ministers and Officials at Committees of the Devolved Legislatures"; and the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. The principles underlying the provision of information to House of Commons Select Committees are set out in Departmental Evidence and Response to Select Committees", particularly sections 4B and 4C.

External Consultants

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has paid since 2004 to external consultants who had previously been employed by the Department in any capacity within the previous five years. [41204]


 
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Mr. Touhig: Specific data on external consultants who had previously been employed by the Department are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, summaries of MOD expenditure on external assistance, of which consultancy is a part, are available in the Library of the House for the years 1995–96 to 2004–05.

Gibraltar

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many ships from the navies of other countries called at Gibraltar in the last 12 months, broken down by country. [44535]

Mr. Ingram: During the last 12 months, the number of ships from the navies of other countries that have called at Gibraltar and used MOD facilities are as follows:
Number
USA6
The Netherlands1
Germany1
Australia1

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many aircraft from other countries' air forces landed at RAF Gibraltar in the last 12 months. [44536]

Mr. Ingram: During the last 12 months, the number of aircraft from other countries' air forces that have landed at RAF Gibraltar are as follows:
CountriesNumber of aircraft
United States of America5
The Netherlands3
Germany3
Canada1
Switzerland1

Glencorse Barracks

Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many new homes he estimates will be required to house the families of soldiers stationed at Glencorse Barracks; [44634]

(2) how many civilian jobs he estimates will be created at Glencorse Barracks over the next three years; [44635]

(3) how many Army personnel will be stationed at Glencorse Barracks over the next three years. [44636]

Mr. Touhig: We estimate that in the region of 650 army personnel will be stationed at Glencorse Barracks over the next three years.

151 new Service Family Accommodation house types are being built on the re-developed area of the old Milton Bridge Camp; this additional housing will ensure the requirements of the families of soldiers stationed at Glencorse Barracks are met.
 
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Under current plans it is estimated that in the region of 40 civilian jobs will be created at Glencorse Barracks over the next three years.

Gurkhas

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will publish the findings of his review of Gurkhas' terms and conditions of service. [44044]

Mr. Touhig: Because of the complexity of some of the issues involved, the review of Gurkha Terms and Conditions of Service is taking longer than originally planned. We hope that an announcement can be made before the Whitsun recess.

Iraq

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his US counterpart about the comparative incidences of Gulf War illnesses in US and UK forces involved in the invasion of Iraq in 2003; and what the results of those discussions were. [44217]

Mr. Touhig: Defence Ministers have not held any formal discussions with the United States counterparts about the comparative incidence of Gulf War illness" following the start of the current Iraq deployment (Operation Telic). A British Liaison Officer is based permanently in Washington DC and is tasked with ensuring that the United Kingdom has full visibility of US research into Gulf health issues and with providing a channel for communicating our own work to interested US parties. There has also been other discussions on the subject at official level.

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel from the 2003 invasion of Iraq on Operation Telic have since been diagnosed with recognised neurological illnesses. [44226]

Mr. Touhig: Information on illnesses reported by service personnel who have served on Operation Telic is not held centrally. Although the medical records of individuals who have left the services are held by each service at individual central locations, the records of personnel who are still serving are normally held at their unit medical centre.

However, data has been collated since September 2004 on how many service personnel, deployed on Operation Telic, reported to UK medical facilities in theatre with neurological disorders (including paralysis and altered consciousness). Between September 2004 and November 2005 inclusive, there were:

The assessment of such disorders is made at the point of access to primary health care and is not a formal medical diagnosis. Additionally, it does not take into account any subsequent change in diagnosis.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements are in place regarding the air transportation of British troops from Germany to Iraq. [45145]


 
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Mr. Ingram: A scheduled air service, comprising a mix of Royal Air Force and commercial aircraft, operates between the United Kingdom and Iraq five days a week, also calling in Germany on two of those days. Additionally, when the main body of troops in Iraq changes, dedicated aircraft move those troops to and from the country in which they are normally stationed, which may include Germany.


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