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Stem Cells

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what stem cell trials are being carried out in the UK; and what companies are involved in these. [92343]

Mr Simon Burns: There are currently 10 trials of stem cell-based medicinal products for which clinical trial authorisations have been granted by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), of which two have commercial sponsors. The MHRA cannot name sponsors because they are legally obliged to keep this information confidential.

Voluntary Organisations

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contribution his Department is making to implementation of the Compact with the voluntary sector; and if he will make a statement. [92283]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department signed up to the renewed Compact published in December 2010. It is committed to the principles of the Compact and pursues a “compact compliant” way of working in its business with civil society organisations (CSOs).

Over the last year the Department has taken the following actions to ensure the Compact is being implemented. It:

has a nominated Senior Responsible Officer for the Compact, and a civil society liaison officer responsible for day to day promotion and management of Compact implementation;

reviewed and monitored consultation lengths, to ensure consultations with the CSO sector are 12 weeks, where possible;

has incorporated the Compact into its own cross departmental guidance on matters like grant funding and procurement;

monitored departmental Compact compliance, via the number of complaints received about the implementation of the Compact;

participated in the National Audit Office (NAO's) review of the National Compact implementation; and

made ministerial statements and provided leadership on the Compact signalling its importance to relevant stakeholder groups e.g. by including a statement on the value of the Compact in arm’s length bodies business planning guidance.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 553W

In 2012-13 the Department will also include reporting on the Compact within its business plan to be published in spring 2012.

The Department welcomes the recent NAO inquiry on Government implementation of the Compact and will work with Compact Voice to take forward the report's recommendations to help Departments improve how they embed Compact principles into departmental activities.

Home Department

Animal Experiments: EU Law

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress her Department has made in implementing European Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. [92962]

Lynne Featherstone: European Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes was adopted in September 2010 and came into force on 9 November 2010. Member states must transpose the provisions of the directive into national legislation by 10 November 2012. The majority of its provisions must be implemented from 1 January 2013. The mandatory standards of care and accommodation set out in Annex III to the directive must be implemented by 1 January 2017.

A public consultation on the options for transposition of the directive was launched on 13 June 2011 and closed on 5 September 2011. Over 13,000 individuals and nearly 100 organisations responded to the consultation. Analysis of the responses is almost complete. Decisions on options will be announced in due course. In the meantime, preliminary work is proceeding on the preparation of draft regulations to transpose the provisions of the directive into UK legislation and on the preparation of draft guidance to accompany the legislation. In addition comments have been invited from interested organisations on a draft code of practice on care and accommodation.

Arrest Warrants: Extradition

Conor Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many European arrest warrants seeking the extradition of a UK citizen to another EU member state have been served in each constituency in each of the last five years. [92089]

Damian Green: The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for Scotland are the designated UK authorities responsible for processing European arrest warrants (EAWs). Information is held on part 1 cases (persons wanted from the UK by another member state) and part 3 cases (persons wanted by the UK from another member state).

According to SOCA records, the following table shows the number of UK nationals arrested in the UK under a part 1 EAW from 2008-09 to 2010-11.

As at 1 April to 31 March each year Number of UK nationals arrested

2008-09

29

2009-10

79

2010-11

59

31 Jan 2012 : Column 554W

Due to the way data were recorded prior to 1 April2008, it is not possible to provide data on the number of UK nationals arrested in the UK on part 1 EAWs prior to this date without a manual examination of each individual case file. This would incur a disproportionate cost.

Data are not held by SOCA to allow these figures to be broken down into the number of warrants served in each constituency.

Criminal Records: EU Action

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues on the establishment of the European Criminal Records Information System. [92478]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government are fully supportive of the establishment of the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) in April 2012. ECRIS will provide for higher volumes and faster, more efficient exchanges of criminal records information across the EU and will therefore be a valuable new tool in fighting cross-border criminality. The European Commission is satisfied that ECRIS is on track to become operational as scheduled in April this year and I am pleased to confirm that the UK is on track to be ready to use the mechanism from that point.

Deloitte

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what contracts her Department has awarded to Deloitte since May 2010; and what the (a) net and (b) individual monetary value was of each such contract. [92445]

Damian Green [holding answer 30 January 2012]: The Home Department, including its executive agencies, has awarded 36 contracts with a total value of £1,960,919.96 to Deloitte since May 2010. The contracts are as follows:

  Contracts (a) N et value (£) (b) I ndividual monetary value (£)

1

Space planning exercise

5,000.00

5,000.00

2

Space planning exercise

7,500.00

7,500.00

3

Structural survey

2,777.90

2,777.90

4

Space planning exercise

9,984.01

9,984.01

5

Project Management—office consolidation

43,547.22

43,547.22

6

Feasibility report

11,991.25

11,991.25

7

Pre acquisition survey

6,967.13

6,967.13

8

Feasibility report

11,991.25

11,991.25

9

Feasibility report

16,046.25

16,046.25

10

Feasibility report

5,916.72

5,916.72

11

Feasibility report

17,122.00

17,122.00

12

Feasibility report

5,565.81

5,565.81

13

Space planning exercise

8,732.94

8,732.94

14

Project Management—office refurbishment

59,140.10

59,140.10

15

Project Management—office refurbishments

77,664.00

77,664.00

16

Quality assurance exercise

3,749.09

3,749.09

17

Feasibility report

11,942.72

11,942.72

18

Space planning exercise

9,969.92

9,969.92

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19

Feasibility report

7,412.62

7,412.62

20

Project Management—office consolidation

561,900.00

561,900.00

21

Feasibility report

52,000.00

52,000.00

22

Project Management—programme of minor works

86,196.00

86,196.00

23

Feasibility report

8,279.28

8,279.28

24

Planning application

3,262.75

3,262.75

25

Project management

24,945.70

24,945.70

26

Feasibility report

19,633.30

19,633.30

27

Space planning exercise

14,763.60

14,763.60

28

Specialist vat advisory services

17,889.00

17,889.00

29

Infrastructure resilience review

19,913.00

19,913.00

30

Programme services consultancy services

362,905.60

362,905.60

31

Programme services consultancy services

67,047.20

67,047.20

32

Programme services consultancy services

1,505.00

1,505.00

33

Programme services consultancy services

68,293.60

68,293.60

34

Programme services consultancy services

62,880.00

62,880.00

35

Programme services consultancy services

200,000.00

200,000.00

36

Programme services consultancy services

66,485.00

66,485.00

 

Total

1,960,919.96

1,960,919.96

Departmental Expenditure: Alcoholic Drinks

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much (a) her Department and (b) its public bodies have spent on (i) wine, (ii) other alcoholic refreshments and (iii) bottled water since May 2010. [91957]

Damian Green [holding answer 26 January 2012]: The Home Office accounting systems do not identify separate expenditure on wine, other alcoholic refreshments or bottled water. The information cannot be obtained without incurring disproportionate cost.

Third Sector

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much funding her Department will provide to (a) Women's Aid, (b) the Prince's Trust, (c) Inner City Guidance, (d) Refuge and (e) London Tigers in 2011-12; and if she will make a statement. [85690]

Damian Green [holding answer 8 December 2011]:The Home Office has provided £1.247 million to these organisations so far this year. Grant applications for January to March 2012 are currently under consideration.

Third parties Grant spend to December 2011 (£)

(a) Women's Aid

305,000

(b) The Prince's Trust

250,000

(c) Inner City Guidance

228,750

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(d) Refuge

300,000

(e) London Tigers

163,604

Departmental Pilot Schemes

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which pilots her Department has open. [91137]

Damian Green: The Home Office business plan includes the following open pilots:

Trailblazers—building on the success of the national crime mapping website, Police.uk, trailblazer areas are undertaking exploratory work to increase transparency across crime, policing and justice and through the provision of a wider range of information.

Domestic violence protection orders—to conduct and evaluate the effectiveness of domestic violence protection orders and domestic violence protection notices, which are designed to exclude the perpetrator from the designated premises and give victims of domestic violence the time and space to consider their options.

In addition, across Home Office operations, there is ongoing trialling of a range of potential improvements prior to full roll-out.

Work Experience

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what work experience or traineeship schemes her Department offers to minority groups. [92750]

Damian Green: The Home Office currently participates in the Fast Stream Summer Diversity Internship programmes for minority ethnic and low socio-economic background undergraduates; and the Windsor Fellowship Leadership programme for minority ethnic undergraduates.

Illegal Immigrants

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) illegal immigrants, (b) asylum seekers, (c) foreign nationals in breach of visa requirements and (d) foreign nationals with no right to remain in the UK were deported in each of the last five years; and to which countries such people were deported. [92036]

Damian Green: Deportations are a specific subset of removals which are enforced either following a criminal conviction or when it is judged that a person's removal from the UK is conducive to the public good. The deportation order prohibits the person returning to the UK until such time as it may be revoked. Most illegal immigrants are removed under administrative or illegal entry powers from the UK rather than being deported.

It has therefore been assumed that the question refers to the number of removals and voluntary departures from the UK as opposed to the number of deportations.

Information on (a) illegal immigrants and (c) foreign nationals in breach of visa requirements who were removed from the UK is not separately identifiable from published sources.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 557W

The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics on the number of persons removed or departed voluntarily from the UK within Immigration Statistics. The data on removals and voluntary departures of (b) asylum seekers and (d) non-asylum seekers by country of destination are available in the latest release, Immigration Statistics: July to September 2011.

Due to the size of the tables involved for each year, annual data showing the asylum/non-asylum breakdown by country of destination removed to are available from table rv.06 and quarterly data from table rv.06.q within the Immigration Statistics releases from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Science, Research and Statistics web pages at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/science-research/research-statistics/migration/migration-statistics1/

Data for October 2011 onwards are not yet available, but quarterly data for October to December 2011 will be published as part of the regular Home Office publication scheme on 23 February 2012.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many immigrants subject to removal proceedings left the UK without contesting the decision in each of the last five years; how many such immigrants appealed and were (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful in their appeal; and how many such immigrants remain in the UK awaiting deportation. [92038]

Damian Green: Appellants do not have the right to appeal against removal. They are only able to exercise their right of appeal against their immigration application decision.

Immigrants: EU Nationals

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the report on the analysis of the impacts of migration by the Migration Advisory Committee, if she will estimate the number of jobs unavailable to UK citizens due to immigration from EU member states. [91431]

Damian Green: The report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), Analysis of the Impacts of Migration, investigated the possible relationship between migration and the employment of British-born citizens. For EU migrants the MAC did not find estimates of the effect to be statistically significant.

Immigration Controls

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent progress her Department has made on simplifying the administrative load on small businesses relating to immigration rules. [92882]

Damian Green: This Government's target is to reduce net migration, and they are committed to making the immigration system easier to use. Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs), issued to demonstrate immigration status, will make identity, immigration status and 'Right to Work' (RTW) by employers simpler and more secure. We have issued 600,000 to date, and will complete the roll-out to new in-country applicants from February 2012. In addition, from spring 2012, we plan to launch

31 Jan 2012 : Column 558W

an automated online checking service, in order to ensure employers are able to make quick and easy real time checks on the validity of the permit.

Immigration: Finance

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the cost of each immigration case contested by the immigrant subject to removal proceedings in each of the last five years; and what estimate she has made of the time each case takes to process from the initiation of removal proceedings to a final resolution. [92037]

Damian Green: The UK Border Agency is unable to provide this information without incurring disproportionate costs.

Private Security Industry

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any private companies are exempt from the requirement of section 4 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. [91261]

Lynne Featherstone: The Private Security Industry Act 2001 requires the licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities and the voluntary approval of companies within the private security industry. It does not require companies to be licensed.

Section 4 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001, makes provision for exemptions from what would otherwise be licensable. This allows the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), to exempt individuals from SIA licensing in certain circumstances, if suitable alternative arrangements to licensing apply.

Prostitution

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many brothels were closed down by each police force in each of the last three years; [92894]

(2) how many brothel visits or raids each police force has made in each of the last three years. [92903]

Lynne Featherstone: This information is not held centrally.

Metal Theft

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent consideration she has given to bringing forward legislative proposals to amend the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 in response to recent trends in the level of metal theft. [92252]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 30 January 2012]:The Government recognise that metal theft is a serious and growing national problem with wide ranging social and financial impacts, including on churches and heritage sites.

The Government are taking urgent action to address it, including funding a new dedicated metal theft taskforce. The Government consider that legislation is the only sustainable, long-term solution and will lay in

31 Jan 2012 : Column 559W

the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill an amendment to create a new criminal offence to prohibit cash payments to purchase scrap metal; and significantly increase the fines for all offences under the existing Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 that regulates the scrap metal recycling industry. These amendments are part of our wider attempts to tackle all stages in the illegal trading of stolen scrap metal, and we shall bring forward further measures in due course.

Telephone Tapping: Warrants

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many interception warrants for telephone tapping she has authorised under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 since December 2010. [91492]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 24 January 2012]:Information regarding the issue of warrants for the interception of communications is set out in the annual reports of the Interception of Communications Commissioner. A link to the most recent report, covering 2010, is at:

www.ipt-uk.com/docs/Interception_of_Communications_2406.pdf

Information on warrants authorised in 2011 will be published in the Commissioner's next annual report, due to be published during 2012.

Third Sector

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to measure progress on the implementation of policies supporting the big society initiative; and if she will make a statement. [91397]

Damian Green: The Home Office promotes a number of activities that support big society objectives. This includes the Safer Future Communities programme, which is helping to prepare the voluntary sector for the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners. We will be evaluating how effective the programme has been in the development of local voluntary and community networks over the coming year.

Communities and Local Government

Councillors: Conduct

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has made an estimate of the number of local councillors who were considered to have vacated their office by virtue of non-attendance under section 85 of Local Government Act 1972 in (a) 2010 and (b) 2011. [91768]

Robert Neill: My Department has made no such estimate. It is for local authorities to monitor the attendance at meetings of their elected members.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 560W

Departmental Pay

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many officials in his Department are paid £100,000 or more per annum. [92927]

Robert Neill: As of 31 December 2011, the Department for Communities and Local Government had 12 staff being paid £100,000 or more per annum.

The salaries of senior staff in Department for Communities and Local Government are publicly available on the Department for Communities and Local Government website for the periods ending 30 September 2011, 31 March 2011 and 30 June 2010.

This information can be found here:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/corporate/transparencyingovernment/staffdata/

Empty Property

Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of empty houses in the (a) UK and (b) Milton Keynes unitary authority area. [92563]

Andrew Stunell: The numbers of empty homes in England and in each local authority district of England, based on data from the council tax system, are published on the Department for Communities and Local Government website in Live Table 615 at the following link:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/stockincludingvacants/livetables/

Figures for the other countries of the UK are published separately by the devolved Administrations. Data sources and definitions may differ between the figures for each country.

Energy Performance Certificates

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will estimate the proportion of homes with an energy performance certificate rating below C that are physically capable of being brought up to a C rating or above. [91872]

Andrew Stunell [holding answer 26 January 2012]: The Department for Communities and Local Government currently has no plans to estimate the proportion of homes with energy performance certificate ratings below C that are capable of being brought up to a C rating or above.

The recommendation report of an individual certificate provides a range of suggestions on how the property can improve its energy efficiency in a cost effective way.

Of the 4,014,570 homes in England and Wales which had combined energy performance certificate ratings below C, up to and including 23 January 2012, 983,808 have the potential to raise their ratings to C or above, as assessed on their certificates.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 561W

Fire Services: Standards

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of fire service response times from time of call to time of first attendance for each fire and rescue service were of a duration of (a) up to five minutes, (b) six to 10 minutes, (c) 11 to 15 minutes and (d) over 15 minutes in each of the last five years. [R] [92591]

Robert Neill: The information requested is not yet available. However, it is intended that analysis of response time data, including the information requested, will be included in the Fire Statistics Monitor which is to be published by July. This will include data up to 31 March 2012.

Freedom of Information

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department publishes on its website its response to each request it receives under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; whether the response is published in the same part of its website on each occasion; and what the average time taken is between responding to a request and the information being made available on the website. [92123]

Robert Neill: My Department places on its disclosure log copies of freedom of information responses which we judge would be in the wider public interest to publish.

The disclosure log can be found at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/corporate/foi/disclosure-log/

The average time of publication varies—it is typically within a month, as they are often published in batches.

Social Housing

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to ensure that homes provide sufficient personal space for children, including separate bedrooms for older children. [92320]

Andrew Stunell: The reforms to social housing allocations, homelessness and tenure in the Localism Act will make it much easier for social landlords to manage their stock to reduce overcrowding.

We are also consulting on new guidance for local councils which encourages them to use the ‘bedroom standard’, a modern measure of overcrowding, when assessing whether a household is overcrowded for the purpose of allocating social housing.

In setting out the framework for the Affordable Homes programme, the Government have made clear that the programme must take account of local priorities, which in some areas will include the provision of family-sized homes.

The new homes bonus will also encourage local authorities to meet the housing need in their areas, including the housing need of families, by matching the council tax for the following six years. Family homes will tend to be in a higher council tax band than smaller houses or flats. In addition every affordable home built

31 Jan 2012 : Column 562W

will receive an additional premium of £350 per year, up to around 36% more than for an equivalent market home.

As outlined in the answer on 2 March 2011, Official Report, column 483W, our removal of national minimum density targets now gives local authorities the flexibility to set density ranges that suit the local needs in their areas—particularly for family homes.

Residential Developments

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to ensure designs for new residential developments have safe access to (a) primary health care, (b) schools and (c) play areas for children. [92322]

Robert Neill: The Government attach great importance to the achievement of well designed homes and high quality places. The draft National Planning Policy Framework says that to deliver the facilities and services the community needs, planning policies and decisions should ensure that housing is developed in suitable locations which offer a range of community facilities and good access to key services and infrastructure.

In addition, the draft Framework also asks for key facilities such as primary schools and local shops to be within walking distance of most properties, particularly for larger scale residential developments. We are currently considering carefully all the responses to the consultation on the draft Framework.

Retail Trade: Planning Permission

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance he follows in determining retail planning applications that have been approved by local councils and then called in. [92262]

Robert Neill [holding answer 30 January 2012]: In determining any applications that he has called in for his own determination, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles), has regard to the legal requirement that planning applications should be determined in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Current national planning policy on retail development is contained in PPS4 Planning for Sustainable Economic Growth.

Voluntary Organisations

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what contribution his Department is making to implementation of the Compact with the voluntary sector; and if he will make a statement. [92289]

Andrew Stunell: The Department for Communities and Local Government signed up to the renewed Compact published in December 2010.

Over the last year the Department has taken the following actions to ensure the Compact is being implemented:

31 Jan 2012 : Column 563W

has a nominated Senior Responsible Office for the Compact and a civil society liaison officer responsible for day to day promotion and management of Compact implementation.

monitors departmental Compact compliance, via the number of complaints received about the implementation of the Compact.

participated in the National Audit Office's review of the National Compact implementation.

I am particularly pleased that this Department won the National Compact Award during the 2011 Compact Week for our work, with the sector, in producing the Best Value guidance which gives a new, clear prominence to working with the voluntary sector, helps build the confidence of these organisations in holding public agencies to account, is explicit about the scope for Best Value authorities to consider social value in their functions and specifically mentions local Compacts.

In 2012-13 the Department will also include reporting on the Compact within its business plan to be published in spring 2012.

My officials will also be following up the other recommendations within the National Audit Office report in order to ensure that the Department continues to be a strong model of collaborative working between Government and the voluntary sector.

Water: Conservation

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department is taking through the planning system to encourage rainwater harvesting in (a) domestic, (b) commercial and (c) industrial buildings. [91800]

Robert Neill: In line with our reforms to simplify the planning system, the draft National Planning Policy Framework, which we consulted on last year, streamlines existing national planning policy into a consolidated and clearer set of priorities to consider when planning for sustainable development. In doing so the draft framework sets out specific requirements only where necessary, for example, to avoid and manage risks from flooding. In this respect, the draft framework proposes that new development in flood risk areas should give priority to the use of sustainable drainage systems (which can, where appropriate, include rainwater harvesting).

I would also refer my hon. and learned Friend to the answer given by the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Hazel Grove (Andrew Stunell), to my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Sussex (Nicholas Soames), on 17 January 2012, Official Report, columns 632-33W, on the issue of rainwater harvesting.

Transport

Aviation: RAF Northolt

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment her Department has made of the potential for increased (a) passenger and (b) business flights from RAF Northolt; [92941]

(2) what assessment her Department has made of (a) environmental and (b) noise implications of increasing the number of flights from RAF Northolt. [92942]

31 Jan 2012 : Column 564W

Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport has not made any assessment of the potential for increased passenger or business flights from RAF Northolt or on the related environmental and noise implications.

RAF Northolt is a Ministry of Defence establishment.

Aviation: Wales

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on the Draft Civil Aviation Bill and its effect on airports in Wales. [91575]

Mrs Villiers: The Civil Aviation Bill extends to the whole of the UK. Welsh Government officials and Ministers have been kept informed of measures in the Bill as they have developed. A draft copy of the Civil Aviation Bill was shared with Edwina Hart AM, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science, in the Welsh Government, prior to its publication. The Welsh Government have expressed support for the Bill.

Christmas

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department spent on (a) Christmas trees and (b) other Christmas decorations in 2011; and if she will make a statement. [91106]

Norman Baker: In 2011 my Department spent £8 on Christmas decorations at the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Farnborough. This was for the replacement of lights/bulbs that were at least 12-years-old and deemed to be a safety hazard. I do not regard this as unreasonable.

There was no other expenditure on Christmas trees or decorations in the Department for Transport.

Procurement

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2012, Official Report, column 636W, on procurement, what contracts her Department (a) has issued and (b) has at preferred bidder stage where any part of the contract is priced in a foreign currency; which part of the contract or bid is priced in a foreign currency in each case; and what the currency is in each case. [92398]

Mrs Villiers: Bids are typically priced in pounds sterling. Where there are significant costs to bidders arising in foreign currency, exchange rate assumptions may be provided to all bidders on which to base their bids.

At contract signature such assumptions are re-calibrated for the relevant rates at that time and reflected in the sterling amount to be paid under the contracts. Exchange rate risk after financial close lies with the bidder.

Therefore, (a) where contracts have been issued they are priced in pounds sterling; (b) details of preferred and reserve bidders' tenders remain confidential to bidders and the Department.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 565W

Great Western Railway Line

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the potential level of public subsidy to be received by the company which takes over the new Great Western franchise on (a) an annual and (b) a cumulative basis over the lifetime of the franchise. [91997]

Mrs Villiers: The Department has been and will continue to undertake detailed financial analysis of the Great Western franchise to determine its commercial position for the forthcoming competition to operate these services. The Government do not publish such details as this would prejudice our commercial position in obtaining the best price and value for taxpayer from this franchise competition.

Great Western Main Line: Electrification

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the date of completion of electrification of the Great Western Main Line to (a) Newport and (b) Cardiff Central stations. [91996]

Mrs Villiers: Network Rail is delivering the electrification of the Great Western Main Line. Newport and Cardiff will be complete by December 2017.

High Speed 2

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of compensation payments to residents and businesses along the planned High Speed 2 route up to the beginning of train services on the route. [91917]

Justine Greening: As of September 2011, HS2 Ltd estimated the cost of land acquisition and compensation payments to be £965 million, for the first phase London to West Midlands route. This does not include discretionary or hardship-based acquisitions as these proposals are still under development and will be consulted on in the spring.

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the oral statement of 10 January 2012, Official Report, columns 23-59, on high-speed rail, what estimate she has made of the number of businesses that will re-locate from Birmingham to London as a result of shorter journey times; and if she will make a statement. [90288]

Justine Greening [holding answer 17 January 2012]: It is estimated that HS2 will help support growth in employment of more than 8,000 jobs in the west midlands and regenerate Birmingham's Eastside. While no specific assessment has been made of whether businesses would relocate from Birmingham to London as a result of HS2, table 5 of the Economic Case for HS2 published this month shows that, based on where people start their journeys, over three-quarters of the monetised business benefits of a Y-shaped HS2 network are likely to be accrued outside London.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 566W

Large Goods Vehicles

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 11 October 2011, Official Report, columns 24-5WS, on high-volume semi-trailers, what (a) information, (b) advice and (c) guidance she has issued to local authorities in advance of the longer lorry trials. [92951]

Mike Penning: No material has been issued specifically for local authorities. Department for Transport officials have answered questions received from two local authorities.

Metal Theft

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 12 December 2011, Official Report, column 669W, on metals: theft, when the £5 million fund to establish a nationwide taskforce to target metal thieves and scrap metal dealers who illegally trade in stolen metal will be made available; and what progress has been made on a new regulatory framework. [87708]

Norman Baker: In the autumn statement, the British Transport police were given the go-ahead to undertake expenditure from the £5 million fund for the establishment and operation of a dedicated national taskforce to tackle metal theft. Work is now under way to establish a central command and management team to co-ordinate operational activity and intelligence, supported by a number of regional teams, comprising police, Environment Agency and HMRC representatives, who will undertake enhanced enforcement and detection activity.

The Government believe that the existing regulatory regime for the scrap metal industry is no longer effective and needs to be revised. As the Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), announced in a written ministerial statement on 26 January 2012, Official Report, columns 25-26WS, the Government will be tabling amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill to prohibit cash payments for the purchase of scrap metal, and to increase fines for offences under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964. Further measures will be brought forward in due course.

Midland Main Line: Electrification

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has for the electrification of the Midland Mainline between Nottingham and London; and if she will make a statement. [92510]

Mrs Villiers: The Government support progressive electrification of the rail network in England and Wales as a way of reducing the cost of running the railways, increasing efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. We continue to work with Network Rail to look at the case for further electrification, including of the Midland Main Line, between Nottingham and London, in the next rail Control Period starting in 2014.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 567W

Rail Franchises

Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the effect of measures to control costs in rail franchise awards on (a) train timetables and (b) levels of overcrowding; and if she will make a statement. [91286]

Mrs Villiers: Improving efficiency and reducing cost is vital to the future of the railway. But this will not be at the cost of good services for passengers and will not lead to a reduction in capacity. This Government are investing in rail, with £18 billion of rail funding in last year's spending review and the biggest programme of railway modernisation since the Victorian era.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the minimum number of station calls is at each station each (a) week and (b) day on the Intercity West Coast franchise route (i) to and from London Euston and (ii) between Birmingham New Street and Edinburgh Waverley. [R] [92383]

Mrs Villiers: The Train Service Requirement (TSR) requested was published on 20 January 2012 and is available on the Departments website at:

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/intercity-west-coast-franchise-itt/attachment-a.pdf

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects to begin the tendering process for the next Integrated Kent Franchise agreement. [91993]

Mrs Villiers: The Department normally begins the formal process for retendering for new franchises around 18 months before the new commencement date. We have not yet made any formal announcement regarding the timescales for the new Integrated Kent Franchise which is due to start on 1 April 2014.

Railways: Wales

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the number of miles of railway track within Wales that will be electrified by the end of (a) December 2016 and (b) December 2017. [91998]

Mrs Villiers: Network Rail's electrification programme will not have delivered electrified track in Wales by December 2016. I currently estimate that for December 2017, up to 101 single track miles will be electrified and ready for electric services.

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with Ministers in the Welsh Government on (a) the McNulty Review of Rail Value for Money study, (b) capacity on the redoubling of the Swindon to Kemble route and (c) the consultation for the proposed new Great Western franchise. [91999]

31 Jan 2012 : Column 568W

Mrs Villiers: The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), recently met with Carl Sargeant, Assembly Minister with responsibility for Transport, to discuss rail related issues. The meeting did not cover any of the above issues.

Officials are in regular contact with officials from the Welsh Assembly Government on a range of rail and other issues.

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects to announce the findings of studies on the possible electrification of the Valley Lines. [92136]

Mrs Villiers: As the studies on the possible electrification of the Valley Lines have been commissioned by the Welsh Government, it is for that Government to make any such announcements.

Mrs Siân C. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has had with Ministers in the Welsh Government on electrification of rail infrastructure serving Swansea. [92209]

Mrs Villiers: The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), met Carl Sargeant AM on 16 January 2012 where the matter of Cardiff to Swansea electrification was discussed alongside the Welsh Government's other electrification proposals.

Taxis: Fares

Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the operation of section 71 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 on taxi metering. [92534]

Norman Baker: The Department has made no assessment of the operation of this section. Individual licensing authorities are responsible for testing any taximeters which are fitted in the private hire vehicles which they license. They can take action against any person who attempts to deceive consumers by tampering with a taximeter.

There is a wider point about ensuring that any taximeter placed on the market complies with the Measuring Instruments (Taximeters) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/2304). We are currently looking into various options as to how the enforcement regime under these regulations will be carried out in the future.

Transport: Infrastructure

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the analysis by IPPR North of the autumn statement announcements on transport infrastructure, whether she has made an assessment of IPPR North's conclusion that 84% of the announced spending on such projects will benefit London and the South East region. [89431]

Norman Baker: I have not assessed IPPR North's specific assertion that 84% of the transport infrastructure spending announcements in the autumn statement of 29 November 2011, Official Report, columns 799-810, will benefit London and the south-east.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 569W

However, the following table breaks down spend on both the transport schemes announced as part of the autumn statement and the further Local Authority Major Transport schemes announced on 14 December 2011, Official Report, columns 104-6WS.

This clearly demonstrates that the autumn statement announcements will improve transport networks across the country.

It can be difficult and misleading to assign spend to a particular region as the benefits of certain projects can be far more widespread (for example, improvements to a particular section of motorway will not only benefit those living nearby). In addition, a number of projects announced in the autumn statement, such as funding for bridge renewals, are not specific to a particular region. For Trans Pennine Electrification, spend has been apportioned between the north-west and Yorkshire and the Humber for the purpose of this exercise.

Description Total spend (£ million)

North East

 

Morpeth northern bypass

21.1

Sunderland strategic corridor

82.6

Accelerate NEXUS (Tyne and Wear metro) modernisation programme(1)

4.0

 

107.7

   

North West

 

New link road for M56 (Manchester Airport) to the A6

120.0

Crewe Green link southern section

15.7

Manchester cross city bus(1)

32.5

Pennine Reach (East Lanes rapid transit)

31.9

Rochdale interchange(1)

7.0

Trans Pennine electrification (spend arbitrarily split between regions)

145.0

 

352.1

   

Yorkshire and the Humber

 

Accelerating M1 J39-42 improvements(1)

50.0

Leeds inner ring road(2)

18.5

Leeds rail growth

10.3

A6182 White Rose Way improvement scheme

9.7

South Yorkshire bus rapid transit phase 1 (Sheffield)

19.4

A164 Humber bridge to Beverley

7.7

Beverley integrated transport plan

20.7

A684 Bedale bypass

35.9

Access York park and ride

15.3

New road linking the A18 and A180

4.9

Supertram additional vehicles (Sheffield)

12.4

Large debt write off and lower tolls for the Humber Bridge

294.0

Trans Pennine electrification (spend arbitrarily split between regions)

145.0

 

643.8

   

West Midlands

 

Managed motorway on the M6 - Junction 10a to Junction 13

118.9

Improving the A45/46 at Tollbar End

113.0

A45 westbound bridge (Solihull)

8.5

Darlaston (Walsall)

14.3

Evesham bridge maintenance

8.6

Worcester ITS

14.2

Chester Road (Birmingham)

8.3

31 Jan 2012 : Column 570W

Coventry-Nuneaton rail upgrade

9.8

 

295.6

   

East Midlands

 

Widening A453 between Nottingham, the M1 and East Midlands airport

160.0

Improving Junction 19—the junction between the M1, M6 and A14, a key freight route, as well as improving safety

153.0

Widening A14 Junction 7 to Junction 9 (Kettering Bypass)

113.4

New A43 Corby link road

21.2

Hucknall town centre improvement scheme

8.5

Lincoln eastern bypass

50.0

London road bridge (Derby)

4.4

Loughborough town centre transport scheme

14.8

Nottingham ring road

12.8

 

538.1

   

East

 

A14 targeted improvements between Cambridge and Huntingdon

20.0

Croxley rail link (Watford)

76.2

Luton town centre transport scheme

15.9

Norwich northern distributor road

86.5

 

198.6

   

South West

 

South Bristol link phases 1 and 2

27.6

New A380 road linking Newton Abbot to Torbay (Kingskerswell Bypass)

76.4

Bath transportation package

11.7

BRT Ashton Vale to Temple Meads (Bristol)

34.5

Camborne-Pool-Redruth transport package

16.1

Elmbridge transport (Gloucester)

14.1

Weston Super Mare package

10.4

North Fringe to Hengrove package BRT (Bristol)

51.1

 

241.9

   

London

 

Managed motorway on the M3, Junction 2 to Junction 4a

150.1

Accelerating M25 Junction 23 to Junction 27 improvements(1)

50.0

Retrofit existing buses for air quality purposes (this will be match funded by the Mayor)

5.0

 

205.1

   

South East

 

Tipner interchange (Portsmouth)

19.8

Northern road bridge (Portsmouth)

11.1

East-West rail project

270.0

Flexible commuter rail tickets

45.0

New Southern rail carriages

80.0

 

425.9

   

Not region specific

 

Integrated transport block top up—Used by local transport authorities for small transport improvement schemes costing less than £5 million

50.0

Road pinch point fund—Local Managed Network Schemes and highways technology improvements

217.5

New low carbon emission buses—green bus fund round 3

20.0

31 Jan 2012 : Column 571W

Tackle local problems on the rail network more quickly (NRDF)

100.0

Metal theft taskforce

5.0

Capping rail fares at RPI+1 (lost rail revenues and transitional costs)—includes TfL

290.0

Rail winter resilience

10.0

Access for All station accessibility improvements

26.0

Bridge renewals

250.0

 

968.6

(1) These schemes are being accelerated and spend is being brought forward from future years. (2) This is the maximum DfT spend and is dependent on the successful resolution of various funding agreements with other bodies who have liability for some of the works.

Wales

Voluntary Organisations

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what contribution her Department is making to implementation of the Compact with the voluntary sector; and if she will make a statement. [92297]

Mr David Jones: This Compact is an agreement between the Government and civil society organisations in England. The Welsh Government have operational responsibility for engagement with civil society organisations in areas where policy responsibility is devolved and has existing arrangements for engagement with civil society organisations. The Compact does not override these arrangements.

The Wales Office does not fund services provided by voluntary and civil society organisations in Wales but where the Government interact with or have responsibility for funding these services in Wales, they will honour the commitments made in the Compact.

Defence

Afghanistan National Army

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to increase the recruitment numbers for the (a) Afghanistan National Army and (b) Afghanistan National Police. [92334]

Nick Harvey: Recruitment numbers for the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) and Afghanistan National Police (ANP) are matters for the Government of Afghanistan. However, we will continue to work closely with them through the NATO Training Mission—Afghanistan to help build the capacity and capability of the forces.

Both the ANA and ANP are on track to reach their maximum target numbers in October 2012 as endorsed by the Standard Security Committee of the Joint Co-ordination Monitoring Board, the formal decision making body for Afghan and international co-ordination.

Armed Forces: Entertainment

Mr Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision his Department has made for the entertainment of UK armed forces (a) overseas and (b) UK-based in 2011-12; and what the equivalent figures were in each of the last 12 years. [92211]

31 Jan 2012 : Column 572W

Nick Harvey: The Ministry of Defence makes extensive provision for the entertainment of our armed forces overseas and in the UK. Entertainment is not provided centrally, but by a large number of different elements. Examples include a contract with Combined Services Entertainment to provide shows overseas and to those recovering in Headley Court and Selly Oak; separately, shows are provided for ships at sea. A contract with the Services Sound and Vision Corporation provides television and radio services for a number of overseas bases. Additionally, more than 25,000 armed forces personnel and their families are reached by Garrison Radio. Commanding officers have access to the Commanding Officers' Public Fund and Accumulated Welfare Fund, which can be used for the purchase of a variety of items, including televisions and computers. Figures for all elements of this entertainment provision are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what acts have performed for UK service personnel overseas in the last 12 years; and at what cost to his Department. [92212]

Nick Harvey: The Ministry of Defence has a contract with Combined Services Entertainment to provide entertainment acts, such as dancers, comedians and bands, to UK service personnel deployed overseas. The details of the individual acts contracted over this period are not held. For the 2011-12 financial year we expect the total cost for overseas performances (including travel, subsistence, insurance and other costs as well as fees paid to performers) to be £1.946 million. This is based on actual costs to the end of December 2011 and forecasts for January to March 2012.

For the previous 12 years the costs are shown in the following table:

  Cost (£ million)

1999-2000

0.096

2000-01

0.093

2001-02

0.054

2002-03

0.121

2003-04

2.151

2004-05

0.936

2005-06

1.439

2006-07

1.601

2007-08

1.786

2008-09

1.805

2009-10

0.887

2010-11

1.384

Departmental Theft

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a list of all items with a value of more than £100 which were stolen from his Department in 2011. [92957]

Mr Robathan: The information requested is available in the Library of the House.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 573W

Depleted Uranium

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what methods were used to demilitarise and dispose of the depleted uranium ammunition for the Phalanx Close-in Weapons System; which regulatory framework applied to the work; how the depleted uranium metal was disposed of; and where the final disposal site was located. [92173]

Nick Harvey [holding answer 30 January 2012]: Demilitarisation of the depleted uranium ammunition for the Phalanx Close-in Weapons System was carried out under a Prime Contract at a commercial facility in Germany, with final disposal being completed at a commercial licensed recycling facility in the USA. Under the terms of the contract, both the prime contractor and associated sub-contractors were required to have the applicable licences and to comply with appropriate national and international safety and environmental regulations and with due regard to conventions, protocols and approvals. This included registration and use of Euratom safeguard registered sites, as required by the Euratom treaty within Europe. The commercial facility in the USA melted and cast the depleted uranium into ingots which are stored there for recycling.

Ex-servicemen: Health Services

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2012, Official Report columns 728-9W, on ex-servicemen: health services, (1) whether his Department has established whether the low numbers of referrals of patients with physical health problems to the Medical Assessment Programme is due to (a) patients not having such needs or (b) GPs not being aware of the services available to them; [91814]

(2) what steps his Department has taken to ensure that GPs are aware of the (a) Medical Assessment Programme (MAP) and (b) services offered by the MAP. [91815]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 26 January 2012]: We believe that the decline of physical health referrals from 1990-91 Gulf veterans is due to a number of factors. Most notably, the Gulf conflict took place over 20 years ago and so it is unsurprising that referrals of physical health complaints of Gulf veterans have now reduced to a very low level and that those which are reported are less likely to be connected with their deployment.

Another key factor is the reassurance provided by the publication of independent peer-reviewed scientific research in the UK and US showing that there is no evidence of a unique ‘Gulf War Syndrome’. In addition many of the issues of concern to Gulf veterans have been addressed

31 Jan 2012 : Column 574W

with the publication of reports following the Ministry of Defence (MOD) investigation of the facts.

Details about the Medical Assessment Programme have been on the MOD, Veterans-UK, and NHS websites for many years. In addition, last year the MOD, Department of Health and the Royal College of General Practitioners launched a GPs' e-learning package on veterans' and service families' health to help increase GPs’ awareness of military issues raised. This followed the report on veterans' mental health care published by my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison).

Libya: Armed Conflict

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made since the conclusion of Operation Ellamy of NATO's requirement for independent ISTAR assets for future operations. [91779]

Nick Harvey: The Ministry of Defence is conducting its own lessons identified exercise. This will feed into NATO's assessment of the operations in Libya.

The lessons identified will contribute to the Department's internal planning round process and also the NATO Defence Planning process. Certain capabilities, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, were identified as priority capability shortfalls at the NATO Lisbon summit and work continues to address them, including through the Secretary General's Smart Defence Initiative.

Military Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on how many occasions Combined Air Operations Centre Finderup has directed Quick Reaction Alert flights from each RAF base; [91947]

(2) how many UK service personnel are assigned to each Combined Air Operations Centre. [91948]

Nick Harvey: To identify unknown aircraft in the NATO Air Policing Area, the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre Finderup issued direction to United Kingdom Control and Reporting Centres for the launch of UK military Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) aircraft on 10 occasions in 2011. The choice of the QRA base or bases used for each incident is at the discretion of the tactical commander and forms part of the deterrent value of our QRA posture. Therefore, this figure includes launches from both RAF Coningsby and RAF Leuchars.

The number of UK service personnel currently assigned to Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOC) is 47. The following table details the locations of each CAOC and the personnel numbers at each:

Location Number of Royal Air Force personnel Number of Army personnel Number of Royal Navy personnel

CAOC1—Finderup, Denmark

16

1

0

CAOC2—Uedem, Germany

4

0

0

CAOC5—Poggio Renatico, Italy

0

0

0

C AOC6—Eskesehir, Turkey

0

0

0

CAOC7—Larissa, Greece

0

0

0

CAOC8—Torrejon, Spain

0

0

0

31 Jan 2012 : Column 575W

31 Jan 2012 : Column 576W

CAOC10—Monsanto, Portugal

0

1

0

Air Component Command CAOC-Al Udeid

23

2

0

Total

43

4

0

Note: CAOCs 3, 4 and 9 have been inactive since 2008.

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many aircraft of each type are in service in each branch of the armed forces; and where each such aircraft is based. [92100]

Peter Luff [holding answer 30 January 2012]:The number of fixed wing and rotary aircraft in service with each branch of the armed forces, and where each such aircraft is based is shown in the following table:

Aircraft type Service Based at In-service fleet (number)

Apache

Army

Wattisham, Middle Wallop

67

BAE 146

RAF

Northolt

2

BAE 125

RAF

Northolt

6

C-17

RAF

Brize Norton

7

Chinook Mk 2/2a and Mk 3

RAF

Odiham

46

Defender Mk 1

Army

Aldergrove

9

Gazelle

Army

Aldergrove, Suffield (Canada), Middle Wallop

35

Hawk T1/T1A/T1W

RAF

Valley, Leeming, Culdrose, Scampton

129

Hawk T2

RAF

Valley

28

Hercules C130K

RAF

Brize Norton

8

Hercules C130J

RAF

Brize Norton

24

Islander Mk 1 and Mk2

Army

Aldergrove, Middle Wallop, Northolt

7

King Air

RAF

Waddington

5

Lynx Mk3

Fleet

Yeovilton

11

Lynx Mk7

Army

Dishforth, Odiham, Yeovilton, Gütersloh (Germany), Middle Wallop

50

Lynx Mk8

Fleet

Yeovilton

33

Lynx Mk 9/9a

Army

Dishforth, Odiham, Yeovilton, Gütersloh, Middle Wallop

22

Merlin Mk 1

Fleet

Culdrose

42

Merlin Mk 3/3a

RAF

Benson

28

Puma

RAF

Benson

31

Sea King Mk 3/3a

RAF

Valley, Wattisham, Lossiemouth, Leconfield, Boulmer, Chivenor, Falkland Islands

25

Sea King Mk 4

Fleet

Yeovilton

37

Sea King Mk 5

Fleet

Culdrose

16

Sea King Mk 7

Fleet

Culdrose

13

Sentinel

RAF

Waddington

5

Sentry

RAF

Waddington

6

Tornado GR4

RAF

Marham; Lossiemouth, Coningsby

136

Tri-Star

RAF

Brize Norton

8

Tucano T1

RAF

Linton-on-Ouse

91

Typhoon

RAF

Coningsby, Leuchars, Falkland Islands, BAE Warton

86

VC10

RAF

Brize Norton

9

Vigilant T1

RAF

Volunteer Gliding Schools (VGS)—Various(1)

65

Viking T1

RAF

VGS Various(2)

82

(1) Abingdon, Dalton Barracks; Chivenor; Cosford; Halton; Henlow; Linton-on-Ouse; Little Rissington; Lossiemouth; Newtownards Airfield; Odiham; St Athan; Swansea Airport; Syerston; Ternhill; Topcliffe; Woodvale. (2) Arbroath Airfield; Hullavington, Buckley Barracks; Kenley; Kirknewton; Predannack Airfield; Syerston; Upavon Airfield; Watton, STANTA (Stanford Practical Training Area) Airfield; MDP Wethersfield.

Radioactive Waste: Dalgety Bay

Mr Gordon Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to his planned visit to Fife in the week of 30 January 2012, if he will visit the sites at Dalgety Bay now under scrutiny for radiation contamination. [92875]

Mr Robathan: I am, this day, at Dalgety Bay and am visiting these sites. My office notified the right hon. Member's office of my visit on 19 January.

Turkey: Armed Forces

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK armed forces personnel have been deployed to Turkey in the last two months; and if he will make a statement. [92224]

Nick Harvey: There has been no deployment of UK armed forces personnel to Turkey within the last two months.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 577W

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Drugs

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what level of drugs was seized in Afghanistan in the last three years; and what further steps he plans to take to reduce drug production in that country. [92306]

Alistair Burt: The Criminal Justice Task Force, Afghanistan's leading counter-narcotics judicial institution, records all significant drug seizures associated with the prosecutions it handles. It suggests a total of 353.2 metric tonnes of illicit narcotics (heroine, morphine, opium, hashish) was seized between April 2009 and December 2011. Very low-level drugs cases are not included in this figure.

The UK has provided strong support to the Government of Afghanistan in delivering their National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS) and, in partnership with our international partners and the United Nations Office on Drugs Crime, will continue to do so in future. The NDCS sets out a comprehensive response to the narcotics trade including law enforcement, criminal justice, economic development and regional co-operation.

Afghanistan: Police

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on establishing the Police Academy of Afghanistan; what the expected completion date is; and how many recruits are expected to be trained each year. [92330]

Alistair Burt: The police training centre in Helmand has been operating since June 2010. Over 3,400 new recruits and 570 junior officers have graduated since the training centre opened. As of January 2012 there are 507 trainees at the training centre consisting of 198 junior officers, 299 patrolmen and 10 trauma assistance personnel medics. The number of recruits trained in future will vary depending on the nature of training being delivered, based on Afghan needs.

We continue to invest in the training centre, which will become the police training academy once construction is fully completed. The construction of student accommodation and a student Mosque is due to be completed by March 2012.

Arms Trade: Treaties

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he is taking steps to support the participation of women from conflict-affected countries in the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations. [92682]

Alistair Burt: Civil society and non-governmental organisations have played a crucial role in the progress made on an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) so far, and, alongside Ambassador Moritan of Argentina, the Chair of the UN process on ATT, the UK has worked to ensure that civil society retain a voice in the UN Preparatory Committee meetings. We will continue to support this approach at the UN Conference in 2012. The UK

31 Jan 2012 : Column 578W

Delegation regularly meets with civil society representatives from different regions, including women from regions affected by conflict, and this will continue at the final Preparatory Committee meeting and the UN Negotiating Conference. At the July Preparatory Committee meeting, the UK delegation met a group of survivors of armed violence. The UK has also funded a project in India that examined the impact of gun violence on women in Indian communities.

Atlantic Ocean Islands: Environment Protection

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the case for establishing a Marine Protected Area at (a) Tristan da Cunha, (b) South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, (c) Bermuda and (d) Pitcairn Island. [92165]

Mr Lidington: Various activities are currently under way relating to the conservation of the marine resources of Tristan, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Bermuda and Pitcairn. These will inform the ongoing discussions between my Department and Overseas Territory (OT) Governments about the appropriate options for the management and protection of the rich environmental assets of the OTs.

Bangladesh: Military Coups

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has discussed with the government of Bangladesh the attempted military coup in that country in December 2011. [92541]

Alistair Burt: Our high commission in Dhaka has discussed the attempted coup with the Bangladesh Government and has made clear our strong support for democracy and democratic institutions.

The UK does not condone or support unconstitutional action or any attempts to seize power by force. We favour constructive dialogue and strong independent and accountable institutions for a healthy and sustainable democracy in Bangladesh.

Ethiopia: Human Rights

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent visits UK diplomats have made to the Ogaden region; and what discussions on the human rights of the people of that region his Department has had with the (a) Government of Ethiopia, (b) Government of Somalia and (c) African Union; and if he will make a statement. [92107]

Mr Lidington: British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development officials regularly visit Ethiopia's Ogaden region, and meet with governmental, non-governmental, and civil society representatives. The British embassy in Addis Ababa regularly discusses the human rights situation in the region with Ethiopian federal and regional governments.

We have not raised human rights in the Ogaden region directly with the Transitional Government of Somalia.

31 Jan 2012 : Column 579W

Strengthening the protection of human rights and promoting good governance across Africa is a core element of HMG's regular dialogue with the African Union.

EU Action

Dr Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of paragraph 11 of the EU Parliament Motion for a Resolution B7-0000/2012 of 9 January 2012; and if he will make a statement. [92406]

Mr Lidington: The UK Government have noted both the European Parliament's resolution and the Serbian Government's announcement on 12 January 2012 that article 359 of the Criminal Code will be replaced during 2012 with a series of more specific offences, in line with EU and Council of Europe recommendations. The UK, in supporting an EU future for Serbia and all countries in the Western Balkans, will continue to insist that applicant states fully comply with the EU's membership criteria before acceding, including in establishing the rule of law.

Falkland Islands: Sovereignty

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on the Falkland Islands. [92015]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We are in regular touch with the US on this and many other issues. They understand our position. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), discussed the Falkland Islands with Secretary Clinton in Washington in December. The US takes no position on the Islands' sovereignty, but recognises the UK's administration. This is a longstanding US position. Ministers and officials have and will continue to make it clear to their US counterparts that the wishes of the Islanders are paramount, and that we will not negotiate on sovereignty so long as the Islanders wish to remain British.

Human Rights

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who within his Department is leading the review of guidance on security and justice assistance; and what steps he is taking to ensure gender considerations are included in that review. [92684]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) guidance focuses on managing the risk of serious violations of human rights that may arise from Her Majesty's Government's (HMG's) security and justice work.

The Guidance refers specifically to sexual violence and human trafficking, issues which affect women and girls in particular, and more broadly, the need to protect and promote women's rights is mainstreamed throughout the Guidance.

The Human Rights and Democracy Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is leading the internal review of the OSJA Guidance, which will include

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a review of those elements of the Guidance dealing with gender issues. The review will focus on how the Guidance has been implemented and whether any further changes are needed in order to ensure that the Guidance is effective and user-friendly. The review will also be an opportunity for users of the Guidance to provide feedback on the content of the Guidance, including the extent to which it supports our goal of protecting and promoting women's rights.

Occupied Territories: Housing

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the effects of house demolitions in the west bank; what assistance the Government plans to provide to Bedouins in Anata following the demolition of their houses; and if he will make a statement. [92207]

Alistair Burt: Our officials in the British embassy in Tel Aviv and the British Consulate General in Jerusalem monitor events in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and make daily reports on various issues including demolitions. Demolitions of houses and the eviction of Palestinians from their homes are deeply unhelpful when the focus should be on confidence-building steps with the aim of giving momentum to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

I most recently raised concerns over plans to move west bank Bedouin communities with Deputy Foreign minister Danny Ayalon on 9 January. Our officials at the embassy in Tel Aviv regularly discuss the issue with the Israeli authorities. The Israeli authorities state that they are yet to finalise their plans and will consult fully with Bedouin communities before moving ahead. The UK continues to encourage the Israeli Government to carry through on this commitment, to comply fully with their obligations under international law and to ensure that any decision reached on the movement of Bedouin communities should be made with their full consent and not result in a forcible transfer.

The UK provides assistance through a number of organisations to enable Bedouin and other affected individuals to make legal representations against demolitions and evictions.

Pitcairn Islands

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials in his Department are responsible for the Pitcairn Islands. [92012]

Mr Jeremy Browne: There are around seven Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials with responsibilities relating to Pitcairn, among other duties. Other FCO officials provide specialist support and advice as required.