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Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent from the public purse on the (a) purchase and (b) maintenance of speed cameras in each year since 1997. [276455]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport only holds information about speed and red light cameras operating under the National Safety Camera Programme which started in 2001 and ended on 31 March 2007. Under the netting off funding arrangements, safety camera partnerships reclaimed expenditure directly attributed to the prevention, detection and enforcement of speeding and red-light offences from fines issued as a result of camera enforcement. The programme was therefore not funded from the public purse but by drivers who had been caught speeding or contravening red traffic lights.

Figures from the audit certificates for the partnerships in England and Wales for the seven financial years between 2000-01 and 2006-07 are contained in the table. These show the amount of fine revenue reclaimed by the partnerships and used for the prevention, detection and enforcement of speed and red light offences. The Department does not hold more specific information on purchase and maintenance costs.

£

2000-01

8,611,793

2001-02

15,386,939

2002-03

57,620,133

2003-04

91,877,359

2004-05

95,079,784

2005-06

99,542,900

2006-07

97,929,754


Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what methodology his Department uses to estimate the number of lives saved attributable to the installation of speed cameras. [276467]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The independent evaluations of the National Safety Camera Programme assessed the effectiveness of cameras using a statistical model which took account of a range of parameters including the effects of long-term trends and seasonal variations. Details of the modelling approach are included in the Appendices to these reports.

The four-year evaluation, published on 15 December 2005 and available in the Library of the House and on the Department for Transport's website, found a 42 per cent. reduction in people killed or seriously injured at camera sites, that means around 1,745 fewer people killed or seriously injured per annum, including over 100 fewer deaths.


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Defence

Afghanistan

8. Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the military situation in Afghanistan. [277540]

Mr. Hutton: Progress has been made, but the insurgency remains resilient. The majority of people can go about their daily lives, but in certain areas of the country, particularly in the south and east, significant security challenges remain.

10. Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of (a) internal and (b) external threats to the security of Afghanistan. [277542]

25. Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of (a) internal and (b) external threats to the security of Afghanistan. [277557]

Mr. Hutton: Our assessment is that Afghanistan faces a serious security challenge from within and outside its borders, and this threat will continue for the foreseeable future.

The NATO ISAF mission will continue to support the democratically elected Government of Afghanistan as it seeks to address these threats using a politically-led approach to dismantle the insurgency; and by building the capacity and capabilities of its security forces.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

9. Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's policy is on the present and future use of unmanned aerial vehicles by the armed forces. [277541]

Mr. Quentin Davies: On current operations, unmanned aerial vehicles are giving our troops vital information and are an invaluable asset for our commanders. They have a crucial role to play in future operations and we will continue to invest in them.

Human Rights Legislation

12. Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance he has issued to the armed forces on the application of human rights legislation to personnel on the battlefield. [277544]

Mr. Hutton: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) and the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Robathan).

Elections: Service Personnel

13. John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements have been made for service personnel and their families overseas to vote in the forthcoming local and European elections. [277545]


1 Jun 2009 : Column 21W

Mr. Kevan Jones: For this week’s elections a Defence Instruction Notice was published notifying personnel of the date and nature of the elections with key dates by which they must be registered, and the Electoral Commission have distributed publicity campaign posters to all units during the past month. Those personnel overseas who are registered as ordinary or service voters can vote by post or by proxy in both the local and European elections. Those registered as overseas voters can only vote in the European elections.

Army Recruitment Contract

14. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) in-house and (b) private sector bids have been submitted for the army recruitment contract. [277546]

Mr. Kevan Jones: No in-house or private sector bids have been submitted in relation to the Army’s Recruit Partnering Project. An industry day was held on 28 May to provide information to companies who may be interested in submitting tenders in due course.

Training: New Equipment

15. Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procedures are in place to provide that troops receive training on new equipment before deployment to theatre with such equipment. [277547]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Bexleyheath and Crayford (Mr. Evennett).

Burden Sharing

16. Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions on burden sharing have taken place in the North Atlantic Council. [277548]

Mr. Hutton: The North Atlantic Council routinely discusses all aspects of NATO operations, including burden-sharing. Last month, the issue of burden-sharing featured prominently at the Alliance’s Summit meeting, and it will do so again when NATO Defence Ministers meet on 11 to 12 June.

Mental Health

17. James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent estimate he has made of the number of service personnel who are likely to experience long-term mental health problems. [277549]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Less than 0.1 per cent. of regular service personnel are discharged annually for mental health reasons, whatever the cause. The King’s Centre for Mental Health Research is undertaking an MOD-funded study looking at the prevalence of mental health disorders in both serving and veteran personnel. This study will inform our mental health care policies when the results are available towards the beginning of next year. A copy will be placed in the Library of the House.


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Afghanistan: Military Vehicles

18. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the main characteristic requirements are which his Department demands for military vehicles used in Afghanistan. [277550]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The requirements of vehicles for Afghanistan are primarily determined by the specific task the vehicle is to carry out and the threat it is expected to face. This means we need to find the right balance between capability, survivability, serviceability, mobility and physical protection for each task.

Armed Forces Day

19. Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has to mark Armed Forces Day; and if he will make a statement. [277551]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The MOD will be supporting over 80 community events across the country with major events in every region. The historic dockyard Chatham will host the inaugural Armed Forces Day National Event on Saturday 27 June. We have also invited all local authorities to fly a flag for our armed forces. So far 460 of the 480 borough, city, district and county councils across the UK have registered to take part as have the Governors of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands.

Defence Storage and Distribution Agency

20. Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the future role of the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency. [277552]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The Defence Storage and Distribution Agency is being reviewed under the Treasury’s Operational Efficiency programme in order to maximise value for money for the taxpayer. A progress report was published in the Operational Efficiency Programme Final Report in April 2009. Work to date has concentrated on identifying a range of possible business models to deliver its services while seeking to minimise its ongoing capital investment requirement. The next phase of work will also include a review of the boundaries, synergies and relationship with the Defence Support Group.

Further progress will be reported in the pre-Budget statement in the autumn.

Trident

21. Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on inclusion of the UK's future Trident nuclear deterrent in negotiations at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2010. [277553]

Mr. Hutton: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and I regularly discuss a wide range of issues. The UK gave a detailed statement to the 2007 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee on decisions regarding the future of the UK nuclear deterrent. We will make further statements to future NPT conferences as appropriate.


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Warships

22. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many warships are in service in the Royal Navy. [277554]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Royal Navy currently has 85 warships in service. These include aircraft carriers, amphibious vessels, destroyers, frigates, mine countermeasures ships, River Class offshore patrol vessels, inshore patrol craft, survey ships, and 12 submarines.

Service Families

23. Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to support the families of service personnel. [277555]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Ministry of Defence takes very seriously its responsibility to ensure that service personnel, their families and veterans are properly looked after. We also accept our clear obligation to support their families and those who have left the armed forces.

The Service Personnel Command Paper sets out the nation’s commitment to our armed forces, their families and veterans. It is designed to end any disadvantage imposed by the unique demands of service life today, and to improve the level of support given to service personnel, their families and veterans.

Driving Instruction

24. Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are for his Department’s arrangements for provision of driving instruction. [277556]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: In 2007-08, the last full year for which figures are available, the Defence School of Transport at Leconfield provided over 25,000 driving licences to trainees across the armed forces. In addition, a number of local contracts exist to provide driver training. The Army also conducts training for drivers of tracked vehicles. All these arrangements are kept under constant review, to ensure their continuing effectiveness and relevance to operational requirements.

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel who have served in Afghanistan have been treated for post-combat stress disorder in each year since 2001. [276040]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Since July 2007 the Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) organisation has reported on the Psychiatric Morbidity of the UK armed forces. Quarterly reports for the whole of 2007 and the first two quarters of 2008 are available in the Library of the House and on the DASA website found at the following link:

Equivalent verified data prior to 2007 are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


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Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what estimate he has made of the cost of treating service personnel injured in Afghanistan in each year since 2001; [276042]

(2) what funds his Department has allocated for the treatment of service personnel (a) injured and (b) diagnosed with post-combat stress disorder as a result of serving in Afghanistan since 2001. [276043]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Medical policy for the Defence Medical Services (DMS) is overseen by the Surgeon General's Department (SGD). However, the organisational structure of the DMS means that comprehensive primary care and individual operational costs cannot be provided without disproportionate cost as they are disaggregated and embedded in the budgets of individual military units and overall operational budgets.

In Afghanistan, members of the DMS are deployed to provide the necessary in-theatre care and treatment for all our personnel. Funding for these personnel, and all associated treatment costs, are provided from overall operational budgets.

In the UK, the majority of secondary health care is provided in NHS hospitals by both DMS and civilian medical staff. The single service medical services are responsible for delivering primary health care to their respective service commanders-in-chief. This includes local medical centres, including GPs, Regional Rehabilitation Units (RRUs), and Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMHs). It is not possible to separate out costs from overall unit medical budgets without disproportionate cost.

The DCMHs provide out-patient mental health treatment for those requiring it, and, as noted above, funding for these falls to the single service commands. In the relatively few cases where in-patient care is required, this has since 2004 been provided under contract with external providers. The costs for in-patient care of UK service personnel in each year to date are provided in the following table:

Contract value (£ million)

1 December 2003 to 31 March 2004

0.4

1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005

4.2

1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006

4.5

1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007

3.4

1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008

3.9

1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009

3.3


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