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30 Jan 2006 : Column 35W—continued

Departmental Estate

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) land and (b) property is owned by his Department in Forest of Dean constituency. [46617]


 
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Mr. Touhig: The Ministry of Defence owns the following estate within the Forest of Dean constituency:

Gloucestershire Volunteer Estate:

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) property and (b) land is owned by his Department in North East Milton Keynes constituency. [46857]

Mr. Touhig: The Ministry of Defence does not own or lease any land or property in the North East Milton Keynes constituency. However the Territorial Army, which is funded by the Department, lease the Territorial Army Centre off Yeoman's Drive, Blakelands, Milton Keynes.

Departmental Expenditure

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent by his Department on refreshments in each year since 1997. [41252]

Mr. Touhig: Comprehensive and detailed information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost, as 'refreshments' are not treated as a discrete expenditure item and are made available in a range of circumstances. I am, however, able to provide limited information, specifically on refreshments for committee meetings, for the period 1997–98 to 2001–02, when such expenditure was recorded separately. This is shown in the following table:
Financial yearCommittee refreshments (£ million)
1997–980.249
1998–990.345
1999–20000.481
2000–010.485
2001–020.472

It should be noted that all expenditure of this nature is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in Government Accounting.

Departmental Staff (Castle Point)

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff employed by his Department live in Castle Point. [42812]

Mr. Touhig: Data on the residential location of civilian personnel is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Helicopter Deployment (Afghanistan)

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British military helicopters he is planning to make available in support of the projected deployment of British forces to Helmand Province in Afghanistan; and what type of helicopters he plans to make available. [46873]


 
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John Reid: I refer the right hon. Member to the statement I made to the House on 26 January 2006, Official Report, column 1531, about the deployment of our armed forces to Afghanistan.

HMS St. Albans

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) security and (b) cost implications are of the unauthorised disclosure of the future deployment details of HMS St. Albans. [45391]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 26 January 2006]: To mitigate the security risk arising from the inadvertent disclosure of HMS St. Alban's deployment details, some changes to the ship's programme have been made. These changes are being implemented at no additional cost.

Iraq

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel signed disclaimers before taking nerve agent pre-treatment tablets during Operation Telic; and what warnings were given to service personnel about potential side effects before they signed the disclaimers. [44219]

Mr. Touhig: Ministry of Defence policy is that no personnel are asked to sign disclaimers before being issued with, or taking nerve agent pre-treatment sets (NAPS) tablets.

A Patient Information Leaflet detailing the potential side-effects of the tablets is issued to personnel with the tablets.

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how nerve agent pre-treatment tablets were administered during the 2003 invasion of Iraq on Operation TELIC; what records of their administration were kept; and what monitoring of potential side-effects took place. [44224]

Mr. Touhig: Self-administration of NAPS is one of the crucial life-saving protection measures that can be taken in a situation where a nerve agent attack is a possibility.

Nerve agent pre-treatment sets (NAPS) tablets were issued to personnel by their commanders, and self-administered on command. Operational commanders were given the authority to decide when troops should start and stop taking NAPS in order that the use of the countermeasure could be adapted to meet the threat situation at the time.

Due to the policy of self-administration of NAPS tablets, as opposed to administration by a medical officer, no records of their administration are kept.

All Service personnel receive training on the importance of taking NAPS in theatre and instructions for the use of NAPS are well publicised to command and medical staff.

The use of NAPS on Operation TELIC ceased in April 2003. As at 30 April 2003, no serious adverse events had been reported through epidemiology and theatre reporting systems.
 
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International Security Assistance Force

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the policy of NATO is relating to the rendition of terror suspects detained by International Security Assistance Force; and what agreement has been reached between NATO and the Afghan Government relating to arrest and detention of suspects in Afghanistan. [45582]

John Reid: I refer the right hon. Member to the answers given on 23 January 2006, Official Report, column 1805W and 24 January 2006, Official Report, column 1982W to the right hon. and learned Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram).

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements have been made by NATO to ensure that terror suspects detained by Afghan authorities will be treated in compliance with international law. [45584]

John Reid: ISAF policy is that individuals detained should be handed over to the Afghan authorities at the first opportunity and within 96 hours, or released.

It is of course the primary responsibility of the Afghan Government to treat individuals it detains in accordance with international law. But as NATO prepares to expand in the south of Afghanistan it is discussing detention issues with the Afghan Government with the aim of agreeing a comprehensive policy in full compliance with international law.

Kosovo

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his NATO counterparts regarding the Council of Europe request to inspect Bondsteel camp in Kosovo; and if he will make a statement. [44171]

Mr. Ingram: Defence Ministers have not had any discussions with their NATO counterparts regarding the Council of Europe's request to inspect Bondsteel Camp in Kosovo.

Meteorological Office

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the consultees who were given the opportunity to respond to the proposed new option four of the Met Office's proposals to change its civil centre forecast production network. [28350]

Mr. Touhig: The original Met Office consultation period began in July 2005 when details of the options for consultation were circulated to Met Office staff, customers, stakeholders and parliamentarians.

Details of the prospective new option 4—which was developed as a result of feedback from responses to the original phase of consultation (5 July 2005 to 20 October 2005)—were circulated to the same group of Met Office staff, customers, stakeholders and parliamentarians in October 2005. The consultation document was also available on the Met Office external website and was therefore effectively available for anyone to access.


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