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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what expenditure on transport infrastructure schemes to support economic regeneration his Department is considering in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; what the schemes are; how much of the expenditure will come from public funds; and when he expects decisions to be made. 
Gillian Merron: The Department is currently considering two proposals for funding transport infrastructure put forward by Cornwall to support economic regeneration. The first concerns the transfer of RAF St. Mawgan from a military to a civilian airport (Newquay airport). The second is a new combined freight and passenger vessel to operate between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly, plus harbour improvements at Penzance and St. Mary's.
Funding for these schemes is subject to them satisfying the Department's funding approval requirements, but currently the requested DfT contribution for each scheme is approximately £21.4 million for the airport and £26.5 million for the Isles of Scilly project. Decisions will be taken on completion of the appraisal process. We are aware of Cornwalls need for a decision soon on the Newquay airport and outstanding issues are being discussed.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Transportation Safety; what note was kept of each meeting; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: The Secretary of State has not met the Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Transport Safety (PACTS). The Minister of State gave the ministerial response to a PACTS Westminster lecture in December last year and addressed a joint reception organised by my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Ms Keeble) and PACTS on 5 July. He also met with my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Kidney) who was accompanied by the executive director of PACTS in May, to discuss the Road Safety Bill.
Dr. Ladyman: I am considering the advice of the Shipping Task Force sub-group that was formed to propose measures to improve the maritime employment environment. The advice of the sub-group includes measures linked to both the training and employment of UK seafarers. I will make an announcement in due course.
Dr. Ladyman: The following table is derived from DVLA data on vehicle registrations. It provides details of vehicles registered to keepers located in Greater London, compared with Greater Londons population aged 17 or over. Some of the vehicles included, especially company cars, will be registered to London addresses but not driven in London.
|Vehicles registered per 1,000 adults in Greater London at the end of 2005|
Mr. Ingram: Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to those members of the armed forces, and their partners and families, who have contributed in any way to the evacuation of UK and other nationals from Lebanon over recent days. The evacuation was conducted with the utmost professionalism, under difficult conditions, with the safety of evacuees paramount at all times. I should also like to convey my thanks to those members of the FCO and the MOD who have been involved in the evacuation. I offer all those involved my personal congratulations on a job well done.
Secondly, on the subject of international support for Lebanon, I can tell the hon. Member that plans are under development, both in terms of a peacekeeping deployment, and in terms of the humanitarian response. Specifically, discussions have been held with international partners including France and the United States, on the subject of an international force. Crucially, whatever is proposed will need the support of both the Lebanese Government and Israel. If an international force is to be deployed, HMG will consider how best we can support the international community in that effort.
Mr. Ingram: UK armed forces personnel are playing an important role in helping prevent conflict in Africa, by building peace support capacity and teaching the principles of good governance and the democratic accountability of armed forces. British military personnel are providing training and technical assistance to the African Union, to African regional organisations and peace support centres and bilaterally to key partner countries such as Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone, in order to help build long-term conflict prevention and peacekeeping capacity.
Mr. Ingram: The UK contribution to the NATO KFOR mission is around 180 troops, providing a highly effective force able to deploy across the whole of Kosovo. We remain committed to supporting NATO as they work alongside the UN Administrative Mission in Kosovo and the Kosovo Police Service. All of those responsible for security are working closely to maintain a safe and secure environment during the ongoing Final Status process.
Mr. Watson: The Government attach a high priority to the quality of life of Service personnel and their families and are committed to improving and maintaining the quality of accommodation provided to them to the highest standards.
Service Families Accommodation is graded into four categories for condition, and I can tell the House that 95 per cent. of our housing stock in Great Britain falls into the top two of those categories. We are aware that more needs to be done to improve our housing stock, and it is for that reason we have introduced Prime Contracting to cover all repairs and maintenance. One contract replaces 22 previous contracts. This should lead to improved standards of work and responsiveness and much higher levels of satisfaction for families.
For our single Service personnel, we have already delivered over 10,000 new single living bedspaces with en-suite facilities, and a further 21,000 are due to be completed by early 2008. This will provide a vastly improved estate.
In addition, I am also pleased to announce today that the MOD is entering into negotiations to extend the Single Living Accommodation Modernisation Project by a further 5 years from 2007, which is a further illustration of our commitment to improve the living standards for our single personnel. This second Phase will provide a minimum of 3,000 additional bedspaces and create a minimum of 100 apprenticeships within the Prime Contractor's supply chain.
Des Browne: We made it clear in our manifesto at the 2005 General Election that we are committed to retaining the United Kingdom's independent nuclear deterrent. The Prime Minister has made clear that this commitment applies for the planned life of the current system. Decisions on the position beyond that point will be made later this year.
Des Browne [holding answer 20 July 2006]: There are nine full-time civil servants in the Ministry of Defence working on Trident and nuclear weapons policy: 1 x Senior Civil Servant, 3 x Band B1s, 2 x Band B2s, 2 x Band Cs and 1 x Band E. They consult and engage others, as necessary.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason a discussion of a replacement for the Trident nuclear system was not included in the section on future capabilities of his Department's Annual Report and Accounts for 2005-06, HC 1394. 
Des Browne: The Annual Report and Accounts 2005-06 is a retrospective document accounting for the Department's use of the resources Parliament authorised for Defence against the performance baseline in the Departmental Plan 2005-09 reflecting the outcome of the 2004 Spending Review.
As we said in paragraph 18 of the report, work has now started to prepare for decisions on the future of the UK's nuclear deterrent beyond the planned life of the current system. The section of the Annual Report and Accounts on future capabilities deals with major equipment projects which have passed the Main Gate investment approval point. It did not deal with any replacement of Trident, as no decisions on that have yet been taken in detail or principle, and hence there was and still is no project in that respect.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research work has been carried out to improve the (a) reliability, (b) performance, (c) longevity and (d) safety of the UKs Trident nuclear warhead. 
Des Browne: Since the introduction into service of the current Trident warhead in 1994, no research has been undertaken to improve its performance. Work continues, however, under the stockpile stewardship programme at AWE to underwrite the continued reliability, longevity, and safety of our Trident warheads.
Mr. Watson: Over the last two financial years 21,880 recruits to the Regular Army enlisted nationally ranging from 380 in Northern Ireland to 3,650 in the North East. In my hon. Friends own region, the West Midlands, he should be proud that 2,150 joined. I will place full details in the Library.
18. Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with defence manufacturers concerning armoured vehicles capable of withstanding improvised explosive devices. 
Des Browne: I announced an urgent review of protected vehicles for operations on 26 June. Today in a written statement I confirmed that this review had highlighted the requirement for a protected vehicle with capabilities between those of the heavily armoured Warrior and the light and manoeuvrable Snatch Land Rover. As the statement explained we shall buy around 100 additional Vector vehicles, up-armour a further 70 430 series armoured personnel carriers and introduce around 100 Cougar wheeled armoured vehicles.
We keep records of vehicle availability, rather than each breakdown, to allow for more efficient fleet management. This also provides a clearer picture
for commanders on the ground of the assets at their disposal. Between January and May 2006 vehicle availability for UK forces in Iraq was:
The four provinces covered by Multi-National Division (South East) remain relatively quiet compared to other areas of Iraq, accounting for around 4 per cent. of all attacks. The security situation in Basra, however, continues to cause concern. To address the problems in the province, the Iraqi Government have announced a security plan for Basra.
I discussed the plan with Prime Minister Maliki this morning. The plan is in its early stages but has already resulted in increased presence of Iraqi security forceswith more to come.
Elsewhere in MND(South East) the security situation is more positive. Our progress with security and training of the Iraqi security forces was a factor in making Al Muthanna province the first where responsibility for security was handed over to Iraqi control. I expect Maysan and Dhi Qar provinces to follow suit before the end of this year, once the conditions on the ground are right.
Des Browne [holding answer 20 July 2006]: Routine training accounted for the majority of most ammunition natures expended in Iraq by British forces. The following ammunition, broken down by type, was expended in each month, between January and June 2006:
|Ordnance type||Explanation of use||January||February||March||April||May|
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