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Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is on (a) supporting and (b) financing the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution; and if he will make a statement. 
a budget of £920,000 for this financial year to cover costs of the Commission and its Secretariat;
a contribution of £170,000 over two years for the RCEP current study on The environmental effects of novel materials and applications because of its relevance to DEFRAs agenda on Sustainable Consumption and Production;
a service for the appointment of Commissioners; and
a service for Human Resources and Information Technology.
Financing of the RCEP was addressed in a review of the RCEP which was published in July 2007. The review, conducted by independent consultants, concluded that there is continuing need for the RCEP but that it needs to modernise its way of working to improve its level of impact and effectiveness.
DEFRA is working with other Government Departments, the devolved Administrations and the RCEP to formulate a Government response to the review recommendations which will include a position on RCEP future funding. As with any other advisory body we fund, we require RCEP to clearly demonstrate value for money.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union, COM (2007) 575 final, what his policy is on the proposal for a European network for maritime surveillance; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department for Transport will give constructive consideration to any proposals which the European Commission may bring forward which relate to the development of a surveillance system which would bring together existing monitoring and tracking systems.
Where such systems relate to activities which are outside the scope of this Department, we will necessarily work together with the other Government Departments within whose scope those activities fall.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what maritime surveillance work his Department is conducting with other (a) EU member states and (b) non-EU countries; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department for Transport employs the following means of maritime surveillance: aerial surveillance; Automatic Identification System (AIS); IMO-adopted ship reporting; radar; and satellite surveillance.
Common working in the Dover Strait and adjacent waters is particularly important. We undertake active surveillance on ships in the Dover Strait and adjacent waters in collaboration with the French Maritime Administration as part of the Channel Navigation Information Service, using a network of land-based radar scanners. This information is fused with other information derived from an IMO-adopted mandatory ship reporting scheme which covers the Dover Strait, and with electronic information derived from AIS.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union, COM(2007) 575 final, if he will make a statement on the proposed network of maritime clusters and the possible effect on UK interests. 
In England, a number of Regional Development Agencies have already established organisations in their own regions, bringing together maritime manufacturing interests, for example Marine South West, Marine South East and Midland Marine Alliance. The Government fully support these initiatives. We look forward to
working with the European Commission to ensure that whatever proposals finally emerge, they will really add value to the current arrangements.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union, COM(2007) 575 final, if he will make a statement on the proposed review of EU labour law exemptions for the shipping and fishing sectors. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the likely effect of the recent events in Pakistan on International Security Assistance Force military operations along the Afghan-Pakistan border. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what use is being made of the former US Kandahar Theatre Internment Facility located on Kandahar airbase by (a) British forces, (b) International Security Assistance Force forces and (c) Afghan forces. 
Des Browne: Our records indicate that UK forces have made no use of the US Theatre Internment Facility at Kandahar and nor would we have expected them to given the current facilities and processes we have in place for detention. Use of the US Theatre Internment Facility by Afghan forces or other nations is a matter for the nations concerned.
Des Browne: The security situation in Afghanistan is stable, if fragile in places. The Afghan national army and the international forces are helping to extend the authority of the Government of Afghanistan, although there remains a threat from suicide attacks and local ambushes.
The Taliban have recently launched a series of attacks on district centres in the western provinces of Nimruz, Farah and Herat. ISAF and Government forces are reacting to this threat to ensure that security is maintained in these areas.
Nevertheless, compared to many areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan these provinces experience lower levels of violence, the majority of which is the result of low-level criminality and clashes among local power brokers. Herat in particular has benefited from a sustained period of relative stability, reconstruction and growth.
In Kabul, despite a number of recent high-profile suicide attacks, the situation remains broadly stable, with no significant difference in the number of security incidents occurring from January to October, compared with the same period in 2006.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for which countries the mandate for participation in (a) ISAF and (b) Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan will expire in (i) 2007-08 and (ii) 2008-09. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) required and (b) actual full-time strength is of the (i) Territorial Army, (ii) Royal Marines Reserve, (iii) Royal Naval Reserve and (iv) Royal Auxiliary Air Force. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The trained strength and trained requirement of the Territorial Army, Royal Marines Reserve, Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Auxiliary Air Force can be found at the following link to the Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts, Section 1: Resources, Table 27, page 169.
Derek Twigg: Fully-formed field hospitals are not maintained in the UK available for deployment, but are individually made up and deployed in accordance with formal operational planning assumptions, with the personnel rotating on a regular basis.
In Afghanistan, the UK has one field hospital (Role 2 (Enhanced)) at Camp Bastion, which has been in location since June 2006. The UK is also providing a contribution of 12 personnel to the Multinational Role 3 field hospital at Kandahar, for which Canada is the lead nation.
In Iraq, the UK has one Role 2 (Enhanced) facility at the Combined Operating Base field hospital in Basra. This has been in its current location since the end of December 2006. It had been situated at the Shaibah Logistic Base since March 2003.
Field hospitals will be staffed by fully-trained medical personnel, both Regular and Reserve members of the Defence Medical Services (DMS). Many Regular DMS staff will work alongside civilian colleagues in NHS hospitals, maintaining their clinical skills and qualifications in an active, up-to-date environment, allowing them to deploy quickly as part of operational field hospitals when required. Additionally, the vast majority of the Reservist medical personnel deployed to operations are NHS employees. The training they gain in their NHS jobs is indispensable for ensuring the quality of the frontline care they help to provide.
Since all personnel are fully trained medically, they do not require medical training before deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan, but they do undertake specific pre-deployment training. The training includes a range of theatre-specific briefings and training, including weapon training, live firing and fitness. In addition, specific medical training for field hospital personnel deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan is conducted. This includes a pre-hospital exercise for the Reserve forces deployed, and six days of medical training. This covers both directed medical training and collective hospital training in a field hospital simulator. Each collective hospital exercise is validated and a report produced. The medical training is widely acknowledged to be excellent.
Each field hospital provides a deployed hospital care capability that includes emergency medicine, primary surgery, intensive care unit, medium and low dependency nursing care beds and diagnostic support (including CT Scanner), as well as a mission-tailored variety of clinical specialities for deployed medical care.
The field hospitals are an integral part of the Joint Medical Group in both Theatres. The Iraq hospital is currently manned to 106, and in Afghanistan to 90. Field hospital personnel usually deploy for a six-month tour of duty. There are exceptions within the clinical staff, and consultant grade personnel and other
selected clinicians complete between six to 12 weeks. Some nursing staff and other allied health care professions also complete a 12-week tour of duty.
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the level of pay is of the five lowest-paid ranks of troops now serving in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq; and what percentage each is of the UK national average wage. 
|Rank||Weekly earnings( 1 ) (£)||Percentage of UK national average|
|(1 )Includes allowances paid to those personnel on operations.|
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The services do not set official guidelines on voluntary outflow (VO) rates. They assess the acceptable range of voluntary outflow in terms of the ability to provide sustainable manpower structures and, in particular, the maximum capacity of training pipelines that supply replacements for those who leave. Actual outflows are monitored against these assumption and constraints and action is taken to respond, for example, by the use of a Financial Retention Incentive.
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