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Lord Bach: Hazardous or "special waste" emanating from the Ministry of Defence is only disposed of at licensed waste disposal facilities that hold an appropriate waste management licence or IPPC permit using disposal contractors registered with the various UK environment agencies.
Under the current procedure for the disposal of special waste, the environment agencies located closest to the disposal site receive written confirmation of the safe deposit of this waste; the producer is not included in this loop. This will hopefully change when the new Hazardous Waste Regulations 2004 are enacted into UK legislation.
Lord Bach: From 16 July onwards, the department will continue to dispose of its hazardous waste in accordance with the requirements outlined in the relevant United Kingdom environmental legislation and with Directive 99/31/EC on the landfill of waste.
What is their current estimate of the number of British troops who could have been exposed to fall-out from the destruction by United States forces of the stockpile of Iraqi chemical weapons at Khamisiyah in Southern Iraq in March 1991; and how this compares with previous estimates given to Parliament. [HL3811]
Lord Bach: As I stated in my Answer of 25 March 2004 (Official Report, col. WA 112) the US modelling work estimated that the number of British troops who could have been exposed to the demolitions of chemical weapons at Khamisiyah is estimated at 9,000.
The US Government Accounting Office (GAO) report published in June suggested that this modelling was flawed and that all troops in theatre could have been exposed to fall-out from the destruction of these weapons.
Lord Bach: HMS "Endurance" deploys on an annual basis, usually between October to May the following year, to the South Atlantic and Antarctic regions during the austral summer. She is a unique ship of the Royal Navy in that she has three main roles. Her primary role is to provide a presence in the British Antarctic Territory and United Kingdom Overseas Territories in the region reinforcing British interests and supporting Foreign Office objectives. "Endurance" also undertakes a programme of hydrographic and oceanographic survey work, in support of safety of navigation, during her deployment. The UK Antarctic survey programme is the most extensive in the area in waters that are still largely uncharted. The information gathered is processed by the UK Hydrographic Office and drawn into charts that are used by mariners around the world. Her other role is to support the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in carrying out its scientific research programmes. In addition, "Endurance" also contributes to the Defence Diplomacy Mission by undertaking a series of port visits in the region.
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HMS "Endurance" returned from her 200304 deployment on 7 May 2004. She is currently in a period of refit which will result in a shortened deployment programme for the 200405 austral summer season. She is scheduled to deploy early in the new year during which she will resume work in line with her three main roles.
Whether any usable part of the Royal Air Force centrifuge was delivered by Environmental Tectonics Corporation before the termination of its contract; and, if so, what is its value to the Royal Air Force. [HL3823]
Lord Bach: Under the Ministry of Defence's former contract with the Environmental Tectonics Corporation (ETC) a new building was constructed at RAF Henlow to house the new centrifuge. Options for its future use are under consideration. This will determine the value of this asset to the MoD.
Lord Bach: As at 1 January 2004, the establishment and trained strength of the Black Watch was, respectively, 675 and 635. Recruitment to the regiment remains steady and further initiatives to encourage new recruits are being planned.
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When they anticipate that the first tranche of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft will enter into full operational service with the Royal Air Force; to what extent this process will be staged; and how many such aircraft will come into operation at each stage. [HL3916]
Lord Bach: Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 1 aircraft are expected to enter into full operational service with the Royal Air Force in the second half of the decade. The first stage towards thisinitial pilot training and operational evaluationis under way and will involve increasing numbers of aircraft as they are delivered. The second stage will be reached when aircraft are declared operationally employable, by which time most of the first tranche aircraft are expected to be available for operations.
What mechanisms are in place to monitor and ensure proper compliance with the guidelines for UK government websites, with particular reference to the web accessibility needs of disabled people. [HL3580]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: There is no centralised system of monitoring UK government websites for compliance with the guidelines for UK government websites and the accessibility standards they achieve. Responsibility rests with individual government departments, agencies and local authorities.
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