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North/South Language Implementation Body

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

17 Jun 2004 : Column WA83

Baroness Amos: The operational arrangements referred to in (WA 117) are the consultation and liaison procedures via which business plans and annual budgets are considered and agreed between the sponsor departments and the constituent agencies of the North/South Language Implementation Body.

House of Lords: Moses Room Grand Committee Sitting, 15 June

Earl Attlee asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): Health and Safety regulations do not specify the maximum acceptable temperature for an office, although the Health and Safety Executive does give guidance that, "An acceptable zone of thermal comfort for most people in the UK lies roughly between 13°C (56°F) and 30°C (86°F)". While I understand that this indicative maximum temperature was not exceeded in the Grand Committee on 15 June, I regret that overall conditions deteriorated to the extent that it was found to be necessary to adjourn the Committee.

The reason for the deterioration in conditions was a mechanical fault which caused the air-conditioning equipment to shut down. Unfortunately, due to the age and design of the equipment, when an event such as this occurs there are no automatic visual or audible warnings. In this particular instance, once staff were informed of the conditions in the Moses Room at about 5 p.m., the fault was immediately rectified. However, as the temperature in the room had already risen considerably, it took some time to restore the room to a normal temperature.

It seems that the fault was probably caused by a build-up of dust on the cooling coils arising from stone cleaning activity in the vicinity. Action has now been taken to have the cooling coils cleaned, and staff are actively monitoring the temperature in the Moses Room to avoid a repetition of this unfortunate occurrence.

UK Military Commitments

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The United Kingdom has around 200 troops committed to KFOR, including headquarters staff officers in HQ KFOR and an infantry company (currently from the 1st Battalion, the King's Regiment). The UK also provides a battalion to the Balkans-dedicated Operational Reserve Force (ORF); this deployed to Kosovo during the outbreak of violence in mid-March 2004, returning to the UK on 18 April.

British Forces are deployed in Kosovo under NATO command to provide a safe and secure environment, and to assist the international community in creating conditions which will support eventual self-sustaining security in the region.

Over the past two years the UK standing military presence in Kosovo has reduced from approximately 1,200 personnel. The UK commitment to KFOR is subject to regular review, including in the context of NATO's biannual periodic mission review process.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The United Kingdom has 22 military personnel committed to the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, and 92 military personnel deployed to the UK-led International Military Advisory Training Team (IMATT). At IMATT's formation in 2002 the total UK military commitment was 360.

IMATT continues to provide strategic guidance to the Government of Sierra Leone on defence and security issues, and assists in the development of the Republic of Sierra Leone armed forces into a self-sustaining, accountable force.

The future UK commitment to the UN mission will be determined by the UN plan for gradual drawdown; final withdrawal is expected by the end of 2005. Our commitment to IMATT is longer term, but reviewed annually. It forms part of the UK's wider contribution to the reconstruction activities of Sierra Leone, where MoD, DfID and the FCO work closely together to support the Government of Sierra Leone in ensuring lasting and sustainable peace for the people of the country.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Bach: The United Kingdom currently has around 580 military personnel from all three services serving in Afghanistan, with the largest single contingent drawn from the 1st Battalion, the Green Howards. Their numbers and roles are:
Table 1: United Kingdom Military Deployments in Afghanistan on 11 June 2004

Role and LocationNumber
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Kabul400
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), Mazar-e Sharif and Meymaneh165
Coalition Headquarters, Kabul and Bagram15

On 11 June 2002 the United Kingdom had around 2,770 troops deployed in Afghanistan, again from all three services, and with the largest contingents drawn from 45 Commando, Royal Marines and the 1st Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment. Their numbers and roles were:
Table 2: United Kingdom Military Deployments in Afghanistan on 11 June 2002

Role and LocationNumber
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Kabul1,300
Task Force JACANA, Bagram1,440
Airfield Security, Bagram65
Coalition Headquarters, Bagram5

The principal changes over the past two years stem from the transfer of the United Kingdom's status as lead nation for the ISAF to Turkey on 20 June 2002, the withdrawal of Task Force JACANA following the completion of its operations on 10 July 2002 and the deployment in July 2003 of the PRT to Mazar-e Sharif.

I informed the House on 1 April 2004 (Official Report, cols. WS 70–71) of our intention to play a leading role in ISAF's expansion in northern Afghanistan. We shall lead a second multinational PRT in Meymaneh and help to provide support facilities for PRTs across the North of Afghanistan. We are currently in the process of establishing these capabilities. We keep all our commitments under regular review but I do not anticipate our current force levels changing significantly.

Northern Ireland Judiciary

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): Section 3(8) of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002, as amended, places a statutory duty on those responsible for making nominations to the Judicial Appointments Commission (the Lord Chief Justice, the General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland and the Law Society of Northern Ireland) to make such arrangements that will, so far as is practicable, secure that the membership of the commission is reflective of the community in Northern Ireland.

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