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5 July 2007 : Column 1135W—continued

Ex-servicemen: Military Decorations

Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Government plans to extend the eligibility for the HM forces Veterans’ Badge to the Royal Observer Corps. [147398]

Derek Twigg: The armed forces Veterans Badge was introduced for all those who had served in HM armed forces. We are currently considering the position of the Royal Observer Corps in this respect and I will write to my hon. Friend when this work has been completed and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Iraq: Casualties

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK service personnel have been (a) injured and (b) killed in Iraq since March 2003. [147354]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Ministry of Defence publishes data on battle and non-battle fatalities and casualties that have resulted from our operations in Iraq since March 2003: details can be found on the Ministry of Defence website:

This information is updated on a two weekly basis in arrears. Since January 2006, improvements in reporting mean that more detailed information can be made available. Work continues to verify and validate data for aeromedical evacuations and field hospital admissions in Iraq prior to January 2006. Once this data is compiled it will be added to the website.

As at 2 July 2007, a total of 156 British armed forces personnel or MOD civilians have died serving on Operation Telic since March 2003. Of these, 121 are classed as Killed in Action or Died of Wounds. 35 are known to have died either as a result of illness, non-combat injuries or accidents, or have not yet officially been assigned a cause of death pending the outcome of an investigation.

Over the same period, centrally available records show that 60 UK military personnel were categorised as Very Seriously Injured from all causes and 117 were categorised as Seriously Injured from all causes (in both cases excluding disease).

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the rate by which (a) vehicles, (b) helicopters and (c) fixed-wing aircraft in service in Iraq and Afghanistan are not lasting for their expected life-span. [145104]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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Members: Correspondence

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 17 May 2007 on an issue related to the Grievance Appeal Panel. [146710]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 29 June 2007]: I wrote to the hon. Member on 5 July 2007. I apologise for the delay in responding.

Military Bases: Wales

John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to secure the future operation and maintenance of the runway at MOD St. Athan. [147286]

Derek Twigg: The Welsh Assembly Government are responsible for the maintenance of the runway at MOD St. Athan. MOD continues to operate and use the runway as part of the Airfield Management Agreement between the two parties. These arrangements are currently under review.

John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans the preferred bidder for the Defence Training Academy, MOD St. Athan has to re-open St. Athan Halt or construct a new railway station. [147287]

Derek Twigg: A decision on the provision of a new or refurbished railway station is the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government. An application for planning permission to develop Defence Training Review Facilities at St. Athan is being prepared by the preferred bidder in conjunction with the Welsh Assembly Government and the Vale of Glamorgan Council. A traffic impact assessment study and green travel plan will also be prepared. The proximity of the site to the revitalised Cardiff-Bridgend railway line is a considerable asset in the consideration of sustainable development at St. Athan.

John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will require the Defence Training Review preferred bidder to make an assessment of the impact of the new build at the Defence Training Academy, MOD St. Athan on the surface water and drainage in the immediate locale, with particular reference to the village of Boverton. [147288]

Derek Twigg: An Environmental Impact Assessment will be carried out to support the preferred bidder’s planning application to develop the MOD St. Athan site. This assessment will include, among others, the impact of development on surface water and drainage to the surrounding area.

NATO: Military Bases

Mr. Curry: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to move NATO joint headquarters from Rheindahlen to RAF Innsworth; and if he will make a statement. [147239]

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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Innsworth site is one of several options being assessed as a possible UK base for the Headquarters of the Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps, currently based at Rheindahlen, Germany. A final decision will not be made before this autumn, and a move would not take place until 2009 at the earliest.

Service Personnel: Psychiatric Care

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what facilities are available for psychiatric treatment of troops on return to Stockport after service in Iraq and Afghanistan. [147260]

Derek Twigg: Our mental health services are configured to provide community-based mental health care in line with national best practice, providing assessment and treatment in line with the guidelines and standards set by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the National Service Frameworks. We do this primarily through our 15 military Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMH) (plus satellite centres overseas), which provide out-patient mental healthcare. The geographical location of care is dependent on many factors, including the clinical need and where the service man or women is currently serving. The geographically closest DCMH to Stockport is situated at Donnington near Telford.

In-patient care, when necessary, is provided in psychiatric units belonging to the Priory Group, through a central contract with MOD. The geographically closest Priory Group Facility used by the MOD is the Priory hospital, Altrincham.

Any mobilised servicemen or women injured on operational deployment is entitled to, and will receive the same level of medical treatment and support, irrespective of whether they are members of the regular or reserve forces.

Once demobilised it is a long established tradition that reserve forces’ medical welfare becomes the responsibility of their own local NHS primary care trust and the majority of veterans’ physical and mental health needs are met by these provisions. However, the MOD recognises that it has an expertise to offer in certain specific circumstances, and in November 2006 launched the Reserves Mental Health programme.

The RMHP is open to any current or former member of the UK Volunteer and Regular Reserves who has been demobilised since 1 January 2003 following an overseas operational deployment as a reservist, and who believes that the deployment may have adversely affected their mental health. Under the RMHP, we liaise with the individual’s GP and offer a mental health assessment at the Reserves Training and Mobilisation Centre in Chilwell, Nottinghamshire. If diagnosed to have an operational-related mental health condition, we then offer out-patient treatment at one of the DCMHs (e.g. Donnington). If more acute cases present, the Defence Medical Services will assist in obtaining access to NHS in-patient treatment.

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Sudan: Armed Conflict

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with (a) NATO, (b) European Union and (c) UN colleagues on the ending of offensive Sudanese flights over Darfur. [147434]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 4 July 2007]: The Government are giving consideration to a number of measures to the monitoring of air activity over Darfur. We need to assess the logistical challenges of implementing any measures and their impact on the humanitarian effort. We are working with partners in the UN Security Council to press both the African Union and the UN Panel of Experts to notify the UN Sanctions Committee of any instances of offensive military flights in Darfur. The Defence Ministers have not held formal discussions with NATO, EU or UN colleagues on this issue.

Territorial Army: Recruitment

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the level of recruiting has been to the Territorial Army for other ranks for the last 12 months for which figures are available; and how many of these recruits passed their phase 1 and 2. [146765]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: In 2006-07, there were 6,400 enlistments to the Territorial Army ranks. Ex-regular soldiers and TA who rejoin are exempt from phase 1 training due to their previous experience, and some specialists e.g. medics undertake separate training in support of their civilian professional qualifications. Moreover, some personnel take more than 12 months to complete their training. There is, therefore, no direct correlation between enlistments and phase 1/phase 2 passes in any given period.

In 2006-07, 1,279 non-infantry TA personnel completed phase 1 training and 567 infantry personnel completed their combined phase 1/phase 2 training. Output figures for non-infantry phase 2 training are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Duchy of Lancaster

Olympic Games: Greater London

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list the Cabinet Office’s responsibilities with regard to the 2012 Olympics. [147844]

Tessa Jowell: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the written statement made by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister on 28 June 2007, Official Report , column 39WS.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agricultural Shows: Minsterley

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to visit the Minsterley Show in 2007. [147669]

Jonathan Shaw: Decisions have not yet been taken on which shows Ministers will attend.

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Energy: Conservation

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the contribution of energy supply companies to energy efficiency. [147651]

Mr. Woolas: Energy suppliers play a key role in delivering energy efficiency to household consumers through the Government’s Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC) scheme, which requires them to meet targets for promoting improvements in household energy efficiency. Of the 4.6 million tonnes of carbon (MtC) savings identified in the 2006 Climate Change Programme for the household sector, suppliers will be responsible for 1.9 MtC.

The first phase of the EEC ran from 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2005, delivering 0.3 MtC annually by 2010. The second phase of the EEC runs from 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2008 and is expected to save 0.5 MtC annually by 2010. We are currently consulting on the third phase, now known as the Carbon Emissions Reductions Target (CERT), which is expected to deliver a further 1.1 MtC annually by 2010.

The 2007 Energy White Paper reaffirms the Government’s commitment to maintain some form of obligation on household energy suppliers until at least 2020, with an ambition level at least equal to that under the forthcoming CERT. This will save around 3-4 MtC over the decade from 2011.

Pesticides: Health Hazards

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the likelihood of the acute reference dose for pesticides being exceeded by an individual consumer. [146792]

Mr. Woolas: The Pesticide Residues Committee conducts annual programmes to monitor pesticide residues in food and publishes consumer risk assessments for residues which are found to exceed the acute reference dose. They are available at

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to advise consumers of the importance of washing or peeling fruit to reduce herbicide and pesticide ingestion; what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health on the health risks of pesticide ingestion; and if he will make a statement. [146793]

Mr. Woolas: The Advisory Committee on Pesticides advises Ministers on matters relating to pesticides. The Committee has concluded that washing or peeling fruit is not required as a protection against pesticide residues. When deciding whether pesticides should be approved for use in the UK, the Committee makes no assumption that fruit will be washed or peeled. Moreover, monitoring of fruit and vegetables (both UK-produced and imported) indicates that the pesticide residues which occur in these foods are highly unlikely to pose a risk to human health.

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Pesticides: Residues

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the maximum residue level for commonly used pesticides was last reviewed. [146571]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 29 June 2007]: Maximum residue levels (MRLs) for pesticide active substances are set on a wide range of crops under a European Community programme. The most recent changes were implemented into national law by the Pesticides (Maximum Residue Levels in Crops, Food and Feeding Stuffs) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2007. Separate but similar legislation was implemented in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what account is taken of individual fruits having levels high enough to exceed the acute reference dose when determining the safe maximum residue levels for pesticides. [146572]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 29 June 2007]: The variability of residues in individual pieces of fruit differs between commodities and pesticides. It is taken into account when setting maximum residue levels (MRLs) for each pesticide active substance either by using data specific to that active substance in each commodity or, where no specific data are available, by using internationally agreed default values.

MRLs may be amended in light of new or revised acute reference doses, to ensure that expected consumer intakes of residues remain within toxicologically acceptable levels.

Rural Development Programme

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will publish the advice and guidance given by his Department to regional development agencies on axes 1 and 3 of the Rural Development Programme. [147348]

Jonathan Shaw: Regional plans for the Rural Development Programme for England 2007-13 have been developed by the regional development agencies (RDAs), Natural England and the Forestry Commission, in consultation with stakeholders and partners. In devising their plans, regions were asked to reflect the national priorities for the programme, on which we consulted early last year.

The regional plans informed the content of the draft programme document which has been submitted to the EU Commission for approval. This document sets out priorities for action, details of which rural development regulation measures we plan to use, as well as how we plan to use them. It therefore sets out the broad framework of guidance within which RDAs will have devolved responsibility to deliver axes 1 and 3 in line with the regional plans. The draft programme document is available on our website.

The programme document might, in due course, have to be supplemented by further guidance to aid consistent interpretation of the EU rules.

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