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Iraq: Basra Airport

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Iraqi Ministry of Transport and the Coalition Provisional Authority are considering reconstruction and investment at a number of airports in Iraq, including Basra. Basra Airport will open to commercial aviation as soon as it is practical to do so.


Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Mentoring and peer support have an important part to play in improving offenders' learning and skills. The Prison Service runs a range of peer support schemes in literacy and numeracy. In addition to the approach favoured by the Shannon Trust, other initiatives include the Link Up project (funded by the DfES and delivered by the Basic Skills Agency) which trains prisoners, prison officers and staff from other agencies to become adult learner supporters and the Reading Champions scheme (run by the National Literacy Trust) which has also been extremely popular among prisoners.

It will be up to prison governors to consider whether greater use of such programmes will help to engage

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those who lack confidence or are put off by traditional approaches to learning, and provide them with the opportunity to gain accredited skills, based on expert advice from their head of learning and skills.


Lord Hayhoe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is a requirement for parole to be granted for the prisoner to admit the offence and to take part in a rehabilitation course; and, if not, how many prisoners have been granted parole without meeting these conditions in the year for which figures are available.[HL1819]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There is no rule or policy which prevents a prisoner who denies his or her guilt from progressing through the system, or being released on parole licence. Nor is there a requirement to participate in a rehabilitation course. Such prisoners may be granted parole if their risk is assessed as having been reduced to a level that is compatible with the protection of public safety.

Information on the number of prisoners applying for parole and who deny their guilt is not centrally recorded by the Prison Service and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. However, as from January 2003, the Parole Board began to collate such data and for the period January to June 2003, in 34 per cent of cases, where prisoners maintained their innocence, parole was granted. Information is not held centrally on how many of these prisoners undertook interventions to address their offending behaviour.

Iraq: Unexploded Ordnance

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many casualties, both military and civilian, have occurred in Iraq as a result of unexploded ordnance such as missiles, cluster bomblets or other sub-munitions; and what assistance they are giving to agencies carrying out surveys or clearance of such ordnance.[HL1535]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): Unexploded ordnance in Iraq includes munitions from the Iran-Iraq war as well as mines laid by Iraqi forces, ordnance fired or dropped by both sides during recent hostilities and stores of ammunition and other ordnance left by Iraqi military and paramilitary forces.

United Kingdom forces have suffered one fatality from unexploded ordnance. We are not in a position to comment on casualties suffered by other members of the coalition. We have no reliable means of ascertaining the number of civilians killed or injured by unexploded ordnance since the end of the conflict.

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Commercial demining organisations are currently working to clear unexploded ordnance in Iraq and UK forces are sharing information and co-ordinating clearance work as required.

Iraq: UK and US Counter-insurgency and Counter-terrorism Training

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What training assistance has been given by HM forces to United States military personnel in respect of counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism missions in Iraq.[HL1636]

Lord Bach: The United Kingdom and United States forces exchange a wide range of training techniques on a regular basis as part of their close operational relationship. Counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism skills are included in this exchange. Recent examples have included search training, techniques to support operations in built up areas and maritime interdiction/boarding techniques.

Ministry of Defence Police:Aggravated Trespass

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in view of the acquittal of the defendant in Regina v Lindis Percy at Cirencester Magistrates' Court, on 4 March, they will give additional training to Ministry of Defence police on the identification of the acts specified in Section 68(1)(a) to (c) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, so that prosecutions are not brought against people who trespass on land without committing those acts.[HL1781]

Lord Bach: It is not necessary to give additional training to the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) as MDP officers fully understood the law in relation to aggravated trespass. The question of prosecution is, of course, a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service.

RAF Harrier GR7 Aircraft

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What air defence exercises have been undertaken by Harrier GR7 aircraft operating from carriers in the past two years.[HL1796]

Lord Bach: RAF Harrier GR7 aircraft have exercised from aircraft carriers four times in the last two years although not in the air defence role.

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Iraq: Khamisiyah

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of the letters sent by the Ministry of Defence to Members of Parliament and Members of the House of Lords pursuant to Answers to Parliamentary Questions about British troops who could have been affected by fall-out from the destruction by United States forces of the Iraqi stockpile of chemical weapons at Khamisiyah in southern Iraq in 1991.[HL1881]

Lord Bach: Yes. Parliamentary Questions (PQs) have been tabled on Khamisiyah since at least 1996, and I have asked officials to ensure that a copy of all letters written pursuant to these PQs have been deposited in the Library of the House as soon as possible.

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why, and on what dates, the Ministry of Defence's original estimate of the number of British troops who could have been affected by fall-out from destruction by United States forces of the Iraqi stockpile of chemical weapons at Khamisiyah in southern Iraq in 1991 has varied since the stockpile was destroyed.[HL1882]

Lord Bach: In 1996, based on information provided by the United States authorities, it was initially concluded that no British units would have been affected by the demolition of chemical agents at Khamisiyah. From July 1997, following more detailed analysis by the US authorities, it became clear that British forces could have been exposed to low levels of chemical agents. As a result, the Ministry of Defence reviewed the US modelling work and published a paper in December 1999 titled, Review of Events Concerning 32 Field Hospital and the Release of Nerve Agent Arising From US Demolition of Iraqi Munitions at the Khamisiyah Depot In March 1991 which can be found at: The paper concluded that up to 9,000 British troops could have been within the modelled plume but that the possible level of nerve agent exposure would have no detectable effect on human health, in either the short or long term.

Further modelling work has been carried out in the US and was published in 2002. The US General Accounting Office is publishing a report on the modelling work later this year and once the US Department of Defence has responded to this, the MoD will undertake a further assessment and make the results public.

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Watchkeeper Project

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they anticipate that the Watchkeeper project will have advanced sufficiently far by 31 March for it to be included, by reference to current criteria, in the major projects report at that date; and, if not, what steps they will take to ensure that future versions of this report will contain appropriate information about that project.[HL1988]

Lord Bach: Watchkeeper will be included in the major projects report 2004.

NHS: Paediatric Services

Lord Dixon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of the total amount of funding provided in the United Kingdom for diabetics has been allocated to the paediatric services in South Tyneside primary care trust. [HL1927]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The information requested is not collected centrally. Allocations of funding for particular treatments are matters for the local primary care trust.

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