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On current plans 28 of these sites are scheduled to be rationalised by March 2011, in line with the pan-government web rationalisation programme.

Departmental Manpower

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) special advisers and (b) press officers are employed by his Department; and at what civil service pay grade in each such case. [1261]

Mr Robathan: There are two special advisers in the Ministry of Defence, both fall within pay band 2 of the special advisers pay structure.

The following table shows press officer posts in the Ministry of Defence identified in a survey carried out in March 2010, adjusted to take account of known changes since. A breakdown of those posts by civilian and military grade is also shown in the table. This includes civilian and military posts across the Department, including within single Services and Trading Funds. Posts are defined as those who directly interface with national or regional media on news issues, and include those working overseas in direct support of operations.

Grade Number of press officers



B1 (Grade 6)


B2 (Grade 7)




C2 (IO)
















(1) Military grade. For example OF5, OF4, OF3 are equivalent to Army Colonel, Lt Col and Major respectively, but include all equivalent single Service ranks.

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Departmental Translation Services

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) documents and (b) other information for which (i) his Department and (ii) its associated public bodies are responsible are published or provided in the UK in languages other than English; for what reason each such publication is required to be made available in a language or languages other than English; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the translation work so incurred in the latest period for which figures are available. [1776]

Mr Robathan: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. All expenditure must comply with the principles set out in Managing Public Money and in the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.

Accessibility to expenditure information on discrete items and services is largely determined by the MOD's Chart of Accounts (Joint Service Publication 530), copies of which are available in the Library of the House. It is also published in the MOD's publication scheme at:

Military Bases: Safety

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking in response to the safety concerns raised by the Ship Environment and Safety Board in their recent report to the Defence Environment and Safety Board. [2621]

Mr Robathan: The Department produced a new safety strategy in April 2010 to address all of the main concerns raised in the Ship Environment and Safety Board report to the Defence Environment and Safety Board for 2009. Safety remains the highest priority to the Department, and the Defence Environment and Safety Board will closely monitor the implementation of the Safety Strategy.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the licence to store ordnance munitions and explosives at each applicable one of his Department's facilities will expire. [2654]

Peter Luff: Some 4,500 Explosives Limit Licences are currently issued by the Department for facilities and buildings, across the UK and overseas, that contain, or are likely to contain, military explosives. The licences can range in scope from the storage of small arms ammunition and pyrotechnics to the processing of torpedoes and other weapons systems. I am withholding the details of the various locations as their collective disclosure could prejudice Defence and UK national security interests. Licences are issued on a rolling three or five-yearly basis, and all current licences will expire by 2015. A comprehensive review is carried out before a new licence is issued to any facility or building.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the Defence Ordnance Safety Board's report of limited assurance on ordnance munitions and explosives; and what steps he is taking to increase the safety of facilities where explosive ordnance is stored. [2656]

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Peter Luff: On behalf of the Secretary of State, the 2nd PUS chairs a Defence Environment and Safety Board (DESB) which monitors and reviews performance, including that of the Defence Ordnance Safety Board (DOSB). The DOSB's concerns were highlighted in the DESB's report to Defence Board and Defence Audit Committee. The department recognises that there are issues with the state of some of its ammunition storage depots which, if not attended to, would become increasingly serious. Our requirements for ammunition storage will be reviewed in the light of the strategic defence and security review and this may mean that some storage depots can be shut altogether. We will consider work to address any defects in the depots that remain open in the context of the forthcoming planning round.

Nuclear Weapons

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) name, (b) date, (c) location and (d) grade is of each nuclear weapons emergency exercise being organised by his Department in (i) 2010 and (ii) 2011. [2039]

Peter Luff: The names, dates, locations and grades of the nuclear weapons emergency exercises already undertaken or to be undertaken in 2010 are:

Exercise Location Grade

9-11 March 2010

Bronze Endeavour 10

RAF Honington, Suffolk

Grade D

12-13 May 2010

Astral Bend 10

Sculthorpe Training Ground, Norfolk and RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk

Grade C and ungraded Table Top Exercise

19 October 2010


AWE Burghfield

Level 1

The names, dates, locations and grades of nuclear weapons emergency exercises in 2011 have yet to be determined.

Exercise Bronze Endeavour 10 was moved to Honington from its earlier planned location at Hullavington. Level 1 is a civil grading, broadly equivalent to Ministry of Defence grade C.

Radioactive Materials

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what definitions his Department uses for the four categories of special nuclear materials. [2038]

Peter Luff: The definitions used are consistent with International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines. Categories are principally defined according to the amounts of plutonium, uranium 233, and uranium 235. I am withholding information on the precise definitions as this would be likely to prejudice national security.

RAF Kinloss

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the first Nimrod MRA4 will be operational at RAF Kinloss. [2622]

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Nick Harvey: Nimrod MRA4 deliveries began in March this year and under current plans initial operating capability is expected to be achieved at RAF Kinloss by October 2012, with some ad hoc capability available before this date.

All major equipment projects will be assessed as part of the comprehensive strategic defence and security review the Government are conducting.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

British Overseas Territories

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to review the relationship between the UK and its Overseas Territories; and if he will make a statement. [2253]

Mr Bellingham: The Government are currently undertaking a review of our relationship with the Overseas Territories. We aim to bring renewed focus to the UK's relationship with the Overseas Territories and the important strategic, historic and cultural links that we share.

Departmental Internet

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the URL is of each website managed by (a) his Department and (b) each non-departmental public body and agency for which his Department is responsible. [2358]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Digital Diplomacy Group of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is responsible for the following websites, which are managed from the central FCO web platform. They include websites for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its posts overseas (including websites in 40 different languages).

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