|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research has been conducted since December 2004 to establish the number of UK depleted uranium shells recovered from (a) UK waters and (b) overseas waters. 
Mr. Ingram: The only records of the recovery of United Kingdom depleted uranium shells from the marine environment are for two recoveries from the Solway Firth. One shell was recovered from the foreshore of the Kirkcudbright Training Area in 1994 and the second was recovered from the sea during trawling in 1997.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment the Defence Radiological Protection Services has made of uranium in urine of military personnel and civilian employees of his Department on operations where there is a potential for exposure; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Touhig: Very small amounts of natural uranium occur in the human body from normal dietary sources. Of the several hundred United Kingdom troops and civilians who have had assessments of the level of uranium in their urine following operational deployments to areas where depleted uranium munitions have been used, 384 have been tested under the biological monitoring arrangements made by what was the Defence Radiological Protection Services and is now part of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. No depleted uranium has been detected in anyone other than a small number of personnel who received shrapnel injuries in an incident involving friendly fire.
The number of incidents of pilots of fast-jet aircraft blacking out in the past 10 years is not held centrally by the RAF. However, in 2004 the Ministry of
25 Apr 2006 : Column 1023W
Defence conducted a survey of all RAF aircrew to determine the prevalence of gravity-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC). Of the 2,259 aircrew who responded to the survey, 454 (20.1 per cent.) admitted to having lost consciousness for a number of seconds following G exposure at least once during their career. There have been no recorded RAF aircraft accidents within the last 10 years where G-LOC has been a contributing factor.
Mr. Touhig: The total number of veterans seen at the Gulf Veterans Medical Assessment Programme since 1993, is 3,445. This figure includes 3,275 veterans of the 1991 Gulf Conflict (Operation Granby), 136 Porton Down Volunteers, and 34 veterans of the current operation in Iraq (Operation Telic). The figures for each year since 1993 are further broken down as follows:
|Op Granby||Porton Down||Op Telic|
Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement of 9 March 2006, Official Report, columns 9613W, how many full-time members of the Royal Irish Regiment Home Service Battalions have indicated a preference to transfer to General Service under the terms of the package announced. 
Information on how many full-time members of the Royal Irish Regiment Home Service have indicated a preference to transfer to the General Service is not yet available. Those affected have been asked to register an expression of interest through their chain of command by 30 April 2006.
25 Apr 2006 : Column 1024W
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the operational criteria are for decisions on whether submarines should berth at Southampton rather than Portsmouth; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: Operational" criteria as such are not generally considered when deciding which Z berth to use. The strict limitations on nuclear powered submarine operational activities at Z berths mean that these locations are used for planned crew stand-off periods, materiel re-supply and personnel changeovers only.
It is possible that, for example during the briefing or debriefing phases of an exercise, proximity to other forces may dictate the choice of berth. But otherwise the selection is made on the basis of berth availability, submarine programme and local interference considerations.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what infrastructure is necessary to deal with effluent from nuclear powered submarines around Z berths; and what the (a) capital and (b) running costs are. 
Other effluent, such as sewage or bilge water, is managed in the same way as for conventionally powered warships and civilian vessels, and depending on the location of the Z berth it is discharged either by direct connection to an installed shore-based facility or by tanker collection. In commercial ports the Ministry of Defence pays for effluent disposal services; these vary from port to port and generally depend on volume. In the naval bases effluent disposal facilities are shared with surface warships and the associated costs cannot therefore be identified separately.
Mr. Touhig: As part of the Operational Welfare Package, personnel serving on operations overseas are allocated 20 minutes of free telephone cards to anywhere in the world every week they are away. In addition, personnel serving over the Christmas/new year period are given an additional 20 minutes.
Personnel who are serving in non-operational areas are granted a cost towards telephone calls as part of their local overseas allowance; this cost is to make up the difference between the overseas location and the United Kingdom towards 20 minutes worth of telephone calls.
25 Apr 2006 : Column 1025W
There is an operational requirement for eight of the 13 in-service Type 23 frigates to be modified to operate the Sonar 2087 system. The decision on which ships are to be modified is determined by the fitting opportunities within the frigate upkeep programme.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|