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14 Feb 2006 : Column 1891W—continued

HELEN Laser

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2006, Official Report, column 825W, on the HELEN laser, whether AWE has supplied (a) the Environment Agency and (b) the local planning authority with the required method statement detailing remediation requirements to minimise the impact on ground and surface waters as a result of the construction of the new ORION laser at Aldermaston. [50858]

John Reid: A site investigation undertaken as part of the planning process revealed that there is no requirement for any remediation and therefore no requirement for a method statement. The local planning authority agree with this analysis. The results of the site investigation have been provided to the Environment Agency.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2006, Official Report, column 825W, on the HELEN laser, what (a) construction work has already taken place and (b) has begun on the new ORION laser at Aldermaston. [50859]

John Reid: Construction work on the allocated site for the ORION laser facility has not commenced. The work currently ongoing is site clearance and enabling work only.

Iraq

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has held with (a) Ministers in his Department and (b) defence staff regarding proposals to withdraw troops from Iraq in the next 12 months. [50363]


 
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John Reid: I meet regularly with Ministers and defence officials to discuss our commitments in Iraq and other operational theatres. As I have made clear to the House, any withdrawal of UK troops from Iraq will be conditions based and will not be driven by arbitrary timetables.

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on which dates (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have visited British soldiers injured in Iraq; and what locations were visited. [50366]

John Reid: I have visited British Service personnel who were wounded in Iraq on four occasions since May 2005. My predecessor visited on three occasions since the start of Operation Telic. Other Defence Ministers have made 13 visits between them. The detail of the visits is as follows:
Secretary of State for Defence

DateLocation of visit
April 2003Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM), Birmingham
December 2003Shaibah Field Hospital, Iraq
June 2004Shaibah
May 2005Shaibah
December 2005Shaibah
January 2006Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court
January 2006RCDM (in a private capacity as part of a wider official visit)


Under-Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans

DateLocation of visit
February 2004Chilwell Rehabilitation Centre
March 2004Shaibah
March 2004Cyprus
October 2004Joint HQ Medical Centre, Germany
February 2005RCDM
September 2005RCDM (in a private capacity as part of a wider official visit)


Minister for the Armed Forces

DateLocation of visit
May 2003Shaibah
October 2003Shaibah
March 2005Shaibah
June 2005RCDM


Minister for Defence Procurement

DateLocation of visit
April 2004Shaibah
July 2005Shaibah
November 2005RCDM

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has discussed with his counterparts in Arab nations the partial replacement of coalition troops in Iraq with their forces following the beginning of a reduction in British troop presence. [51579]

John Reid: Our aim is to put the Iraqis in charge of their own security, when the appropriate conditions have been met. We continue to encourage Arab nations to support the emerging democracy in Iraq, but not specifically for troop contributions.
 
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Senior Officers

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) commodores and (b) admirals were on the active list in the Royal Navy in each year since 1997; and what the total strength of the Royal Navy was in each year. [50180]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 13 February 2006]: The numbers of Commodores/Brigadiers and Admirals/Generals on the Active List in the Royal Navy/Royal Marines each year since 1997 was:
 
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Royal Navy
Royal Marines
As at April each year:AdmiralsCommodoresGeneralsBrigadiers
199740(17)1(17)
199840(17)1(17)
199940(17)2(17)
200040(17)310
200140(17)44
200240747
2003401048
2004404047
2005505047


(17) Brigadier/Commodores were not included as substantive ranks in the RN/RM Active list at these times.

The total strength of the Royal Naval Services (RN/RM) each year since 1997, showing the Admirals/Commodores and equivalents included on the strength, was:
Adm/GenCdre/BrigTrained StrengthUntrained StrengthTotal Strength
April 1997408041,6803,47045,150
April 1998409040,3604,11044,470
April 19994010039,0704,63043,700
April 2000409038,5404,31042,850
April 2001409038,0204,40042,420
April 2002409036,7704,86041,630
April 2003409036,5904,96041,550
April 2004409036,3804,50040,880
April 2005508035,4204,52039,940
December 2005508034,8604,56039,430



Notes:
1. The Admiral/Commodore strengths above include Medical Officers and the Chaplain of the Fleet, who are not included on the Active List.
2. The Active List figures includes some 4-star Admirals (between 7–11 over the period) who have retired and are not included in the regular strengths.
3. Commodore/Brigadiers strengths include those who were classed as Commodores even before this was considered a separate substantive rank.
4. Regular Strengths exclude Full Time Reserve Service and Mobilised Reservist.
5. Admirals" includes Rear Admirals and Vice Admirals, Generals" includes Major Generals and Lieutenant Generals.
6. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 except for figures under 10. Figures ending in 5 have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20.


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what trends he has identified in the numbers of senior officers appointed to each of the services since 1997, as a proportion of the overall size of each service. [50183]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 13 February 2006]: The number of personnel promoted to ranks equivalent to NATO rank OF-7 and above (which equates to rear admirals, major generals and air vice marshals), the average strength of each service and the promotions as a proportion of average strength, in each financial year 1996–97 to 2004–05, are shown in the following table:
Number of promotions to:1996–971997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–032003–042004–05
Naval Service
OF-7 and above(18)810121381112920
Average strength(19)46,32044,66044,01043,26042,55041,84041,42041,18040,360
Promotions as a proportion of average strength (percentage)0.020.020.030.030.020.030.030.020.05
Army
OF-7 and above(18)17111413139201020
Average strength(19)108,530109,300109,800109,890109,290109,290110,680112,550111,040
Promotions as a proportion of average strength (percentage)0.020.010.010.010.010.010.020.010.02
RAF
OF-7 and above(18)612177119111611
Average strength(19)61,91056,34055,51054,93054,23053,27052,95053,24052,710
Promotions as a proportion of average strength (percentage)0.010.020.030.010.020.020.020.030.02


(18) For the purpose of this question, senior officers are considered to be those equivalent to NATO rank OF-7 and above. This is consistent with the coverage of the Senior Salaries Review Body.
(19) Average strength is calculated as a 13 month centred average of the strength in the individual months.
Notes:
1. Figures are for UK regular forces (including both trained and untrained personnel) and therefore exclude Gurkhas, Full Time Reserve Service personnel, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, Mobilised Reservists and Naval Activated Reservists.
2. Figures less than 100 have been left unrounded so as not to obscure the data.
3. Percentages are calculated from unrounded figures.
4. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in 5 have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.
5. The table shows the number of promotions in a given financial year.
Source: DASA (Tri-Service)



 
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