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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what occasions an (a) individual and (b) organisation has applied for a judicial review of decisions of his Department in each year since 1997; and what the outcome was of each case where proceedings have been completed. 
Des Browne: I refer the hon. Member to the announcements made in the House on 26 January and 25 April 2006, the details of which remain correct. Coalition aircraft are based in Kandahar, but I am withholding the current locations and specific capabilities of each asset deployed as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the security of the armed forces.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made in implementing the recommendations of the Lyons review; what the targets are for the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Watson: The Ministry of Defence is committed to relocating 3,900 posts out of the south-east as a result of the Lyons review, and is on target to meet this obligation. To date, 1,870 posts have been relocated.
The MOD does not set interim targets for the numbers of posts to be redistributed, but other relocation projects, which will allow us to meet our Lyons commitment by the deadline of 2010, are at varying stages of maturity. Where appropriate, the details of these will be announced in due course.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will purchase a quantity of light observation helicopters similar to the Kiowa type used by the US armed forces, for use as routine convoy and ground vehicle patrol escorts in Iraq. 
Mr. Ingram: British forces in Iraq have Lynx light utility helicopters which can be used for escort duties if commanders judge that appropriate. There are currently no plans to purchase Kiowa helicopters.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 26 June 2006, Official Report, column 164W, on engagements, on which occasions Ministers from his Department (a) met and (b) otherwise communicated with officers from Thames Valley police between 1 July 2003 and 31 August 2003. 
The Minister for the Armed Forces spent the day visiting staff at the Defence Procurement Agency in Bristol and the Defence Logistics Organisation in Bath to brief them on changes announced in the House that day, 3 July 2006, Official Report, column 27WS.
The Minister for Defence Procurement had one meeting in his office in London with officials before conducting media interviews. He then travelled to
Bristol to join the Minister for the Armed Forces before returning to London to repeat the Afghanistan statement in the House of Lords.
I attended the House for an urgent question, for which I prepared by meeting officials in the Ministry of Defence. Following the urgent question, I held a meeting with an MOD official and a meeting with my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley, North (Mr. Austin).
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 15 June 2006]: All troops deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan are issued with Enhanced Combat Body Armour (ECBA) as standard. The delivery of Improved Performance Body Armour (known as Osprey) sets to Iraq and Afghanistan is well under way, and will be provided in addition to ECBA to all personnel who require it. Delivery to both theatres is expected to be substantially complete by late autumn. I am not prepared to comment on detailed percentages as to do so would reveal the present strength and capability of UK forces and potentially compromise operational security by placing our servicemen and women in additional unnecessary danger or potential harm.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contacts took place between departmental (a) Ministers and (b) officials and the Oxfordshire Coroner between 17 July 2003 and 31 March 2004. 
Des Browne: No departmental Minister or official had contact with the Oxfordshire Coroner between 17 July 2003 and 31 March 2004 in connection with Dr Kelly. Liaison between the Oxfordshire Coroner and Government on this matter was through the Lord Chancellor's Department.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether requests from the heads of each of the armed forces for (a) personnel and (b) equipment for deployment in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan have been refused since the start of the present deployment. 
Des Browne [holding answer 4 July 2006]: Chiefs of Staff collectively consider and endorse force packages for the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the Department's process of regular review. Ministers have agreed every recommendation made by the Chiefs of Staff in relation to present deployments in either theatre of operations.
Mr. Ingram: The Department's non-operational vehicles are provided under the terms of two separate contracts, one for the United Kingdom and one for Germany. For the UK a contract was placed in 2001 with Lex Defence Management Ltd (LDM) now known as VT Land (White Fleet Management) Ltd, and for Germany in 1996 with Ryder plc. The vehicles are not owned by the Department and are provided by service contracts in output terms rather than by a specific vehicle model. A breakdown of individual model types for these contracts is not therefore available.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for which services (a) his Department and (b) its associated public bodies hold contracts with the Post Office; and what the (i) start and (ii) termination date is of each contract. 
Mr. Watson: British Forces Post Office (BFPO) has an arrangement with Post Office Counters Ltd for the provision of services at Forces Post Offices counters deployed overseas. This includes the sale of postage stamps, postal orders, National Savings and investment transactions, and payments of allowances etc. in deployed forces post offices. BFPO receives a commission for providing this service. The agreement, which came into force on 24 May 1995, has now expired, although the service continues to be provided. A new contract is being re-negotiated with Royal Mail Group.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many civilian movements are authorised at RAF Northolt; how many such movements have taken place in each of the past five years; and whether he plans to change the maximum number. 
|Number of civilian commercial aircraft movements|
Specific figures for 2001 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
As expressed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Airdrie and Shotts (John Reid), the then Minister of State for the Armed Forces when he informed the House on 30 June 1998, Official Report, columns 272-3, any changes to the number of civilian commercial aircraft movements would be subject to full consultation with the local authority and all interested parties.
Mr. Ingram: The Rarden cannon is planned to be withdrawn from service in 2025 and there is currently no requirement to replace any cannons over the next two years. There are currently 575 cannons fitted to Warrior and 329 fitted to Scimitar. Sabre was removed from service in 2004. Each Rarden cannon barrel is changed after 3,750 effective full charges have been fired.
Mr. Watson [holding answer 6 July 2006]: A Housing Prime Contract valued at some £700 million over seven years has recently been awarded which provides for the repair and maintenance of the Ministry of Defences housing in England and Wales. Together with the Regional Prime Contract in Scotland, the Housing Prime Contract will ensure improved maintenance of housing and provide better value for money through efficiencies. The MOD expects to spend around £25 million in the current financial year to upgrade some 1,200 properties to the highest standard of condition across the United Kingdom. Our aim is to deliver a minimum of 900 upgrades per year over the subsequent four years.
Overseas, there is a major project in Cyprus, valued at £58 million, to construct 269 new service families accommodations (SFA) between April 2007 and March 2011. In addition, a rolling project valued at £20 million will refurbish SFA throughout Gibraltar, and a further project is set to deliver 12 new SFA in the Falkland Islands by the end of 2007. There is also a major project, funded by the Sultan of Brunei, to provide new SFA for the British garrison in Brunei which will run in two five-year phases from mid 2006.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the outcomes were of the review of
activities at the Shoeburyness Ranges; and whether he plans to relocate any of these activities elsewhere. 
Mr. Watson [holding answer 6 July 2006]: The review into demilitarisation activities at Shoeburyness was completed on schedule by the end of March 2006. I have given initial consideration to all the conclusions made by officials, including the potential for relocating some demilitarisation activities. I have asked for additional advice to inform a more detailed consideration of all the options identified by the review. When that has been completed, I will present the way forward to MPs and the public. I expect to be able to do this shortly.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre records include information on the units to which members of the Territorial Army are mobilised. 
Mr. Watson: The Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre records include information on the units to which mobilised members of the Territorial Army are initially posted. They do not, however, include information on subsequent postings to other units.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what departmental land in Kent has been earmarked for release to facilitate the implementation of the Thames Gateway project; what the timetable is for release; what the forecast capital receipts are; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Watson: It is Ministry of Defence (MOD) policy that the defence estate should be no larger than necessary for operational purposes. Land and buildings, for which there is no present or future requirement, are disposed of as soon as possible in line with Treasury guidelines. A major MOD rationalisation project that could potentially provide land for redevelopment in Kent involves the Royal School of Military Engineering private finance initiative (PFI). Their preferred bidder, Holdfast Training Services, has identified a number of sites for potential release between 2006 and 2012, primarily within the Thames Gateway. Options for taking the PFI forward are under consideration and MOD is liaising with other Departments and stakeholders. It is too early to make any decision on what land might eventually be released.
While specific reasons for cancellation are not available in many cases, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost, the programme continues to be affected by competing operational priorities.
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