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8 Oct 2007 : Column 71Wcontinued
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2007, Official Report, columns 171-2W, on Iraq: armed forces, what changes were made to his Department's agreed plans as a result of the events described. 
Des Browne: Working with the Iraqis, coalition planning evolved over time and was sufficiently flexible to respond to changing circumstances and conditions on the ground.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his assessment is of the capabilities of the Iraqi (a) army, (b) navy, (c) air force and (d) police in Multi-National Division South East. 
The capabilities of all branches of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in Multi-National Division (South-East) (MND(SE)), including the army, navy, air force and police, continue to develop. In the three provinces already handed over to the Iraqi authorities, they have proved themselves able to maintain security. In Basra, the Iraqi Army have successfully taken on responsibility for a number of former coalition bases in and around Basra city. The Government of Iraq have recently decided to increase ISF resources and
manpower in MND(SE) by two Iraqi National Police Battalions and an additional Iraqi Army division.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his assessment is of the capabilities of units in the 10th Division of the Iraqi Army to carry out autonomous operations. 
Des Browne: 10 Division and its subordinate units continue to make good progress in strengthening their ability to operate autonomously, as demonstrated by recent operations, including the successful handover of UK bases in Basra city in September. The constituent brigades of 10 Division now operate autonomously in three of the four provinces in MND(SE): Dhi Qar, Al Muthanna and Maysan. However, there remains a requirement for advice and support from coalition forces to enhance current capabilities.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 9 July 2007, Official Report, column 1285W, on Iraq: peace keeping operations, what assessment he made of advice provided by the former Attorney General on the interpretation of the definitions referred to in the answer in the context of the activities of UK armed forces in Iraq. 
Des Browne: Legal advice given to Government (whether by the Law Officers or any other lawyer) is confidential and covered by legal professional privilege. In accordance with the long-standing convention, set out in the Ministerial Code and adhered to by successive governments, neither the fact that the Law Officers have (or have not) advised, nor the content of any advice given, is disclosed outside Government.
Sir Robert Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the number of UK troops based in Iraq fell below 44,000. 
Des Browne: The number of UK military personnel in the Operation Telic area of operations fell below 44,000 in April 2003.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received on the use of the armed forces to help tackle instances of flooding in England. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Over the last three years, the Ministry of Defence has received the following representations for military assistance from the civil authorities to help tackle instances of flooding in England:
July 2007: Gloucestershire and Southern England;
June 2007: Yorkshire and Humber region;
January 2005: Carlisle;
August 2004: Boscastle.
In each case, the armed forces provided assistance to the civil authorities.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on progress on (a) acquiring six Merlin helicopters from Denmark and (b) converting eight Chinook helicopters; 
(2) when he expects the (a) six Merlin helicopters from Denmark and (b) the eight Chinook helicopters currently being converted to be operational. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The six Merlin helicopters arrived in the UK in July 2007. These aircraft are currently being configured to UK standards, and are expected to be operational by 31 March 2008. Two aircraft have been delivered to RAF Benson, where air and ground crew training is now under way.
With regard to the conversion of the eight Chinook MK3 helicopters, an initial contract was placed with Boeing on 1 August. On current plans we expect to see the aircraft delivered by the end of 2009.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the budget was for military training exercises in each year since 1997; and what the estimated budget is for each of the next three years. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contribution the Royal Navy will make to the EU Headline Goal 2010 and interim targets for 2008. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Headline Goal Questionnaire (HGQ) 2006 details those forces which potentially could be made available for use on EU-led operations. Copies of the HGQ were placed in the Library of the House on 22 June 2007.
There are no interim targets for 2008.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what percentage of British military personnel do not live in permanent buildings in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan; 
(2) how many British military personnel are housed in tents in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The protection of our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan is of an extremely high priority and a number of improvements have been made, and will continue to be made, to accommodation in both theatres in order to enhance security.
I am withholding information on force protection arrangements at our bases in Iraq and Afghanistan as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement of 11 June 2007, Official Report, column 38WS, on Drivers' Hours (Derogation for Reservists), if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidelines developed by his Department. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Formal internal MOD instructions for reservists who may be affected by this amended legislation were developed jointly by the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Transport, and issued in April 2007. All Reserve Units were notified through the chain of command in the normal manner, and employers were made aware of this via the Supporting Britain's Reservists (SaBRE) campaign. This document has been available on the SaBRE website since 10 April, at the following location:
I will place a printed copy of the guidelines in the Library of the House.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the application of the Office of Fair Trading report on Commercial Use of Public Sector Information to the UK Hydrographic Office. 
Derek Twigg: I expect the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) to participate fully in the further work identified in the Government response. This includes the provision of information to HM Treasury's economic study. The study, which is being conducted by Cambridge University, aims to provide cost and benefit information for possible alternative models of supply and charging for public sector information by Trading Funds. The completed study is due to be submitted to Government in mid November 2007.
The UKHO will also, if requested by DBERR and HMT, provide input to their work on the economics of information pricing.
The recommendations included in the market study report will be used to inform licensing policy following completion of the review of the UKHO's structure and ownership. I expect to announce the outcome of the review early in 2008.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the application of the economic review of trading funds to the UK Hydrographic Office. 
Derek Twigg: I assume that this question refers to the Government response to the Power of Information report (recommendations 9, 10 and 12). The Government intend to undertake independent economic work on the costs and benefits of the current trading fund charging model. As one of the five largest trading funds, I expect the UKHO to respond positively to any requests received for information to support this work.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the review of the UK Hydrographic Office is expected to be published. 
Derek Twigg: I commissioned a study of the structure and ownership options for the UK Hydrographic Office which will report to me by the end of the year. I will make a statement to the House in due course.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions Ministers and officials in his Department working on the review of the UK Hydrographic Office have had with HM Treasury on the recently commissioned economic review of trading funds. 
Derek Twigg: In response to the OFT review of Public Information, and the Cabinet Office Power of Information Review, HM Treasury have commissioned work to assess the economic benefit from information created by Trading Funds. HM Treasury officials have requested assistance from the Chief Executives of the Met Office and Hydrographic Office to support the study into availability and charging of public information. MOD officials over seeing the work of the MOD trading funds, including the UKHO ownership and structure options review, will be available to support the HM Treasury Study.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many press officers are employed by the Veterans Agency. 
Derek Twigg: The Veterans Agency and the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency merged together on 2 April 2007 to form the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA). SPVA has two people who carry out press officer functions as part of their duties. They also undertake other tasks.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average daily volume of traffic was between each junction of the A15 within the Peterborough City Council boundaries in each year since 1997. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The annual average daily flow (AADF) data are available for every link of the A15 in the Peterborough local authority area. These links correspond to sections of the A15 between major junctions. Details of these links and their AADF data for all motor vehicles from 1997 to 2006 can be found in the following tables. The AADF data are rounded to the nearest 100 vehicles.
|Census point (CP)||A-junction: start of road link||B-junction: end of road link|
|AADF, all motor vehicles|
|Census point (CP)||1997||1998||1999||2000||2001||2002||2003||2004||2005||2006|
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