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Royal Navy: Sonar

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): We have not taken any action.

The Royal Navy did not operate any anti-submarine sonar during the NATO exercise off southern Spain between 24–26 January. Furthermore, there is no current evidence to show that Royal Naval sonar has ever been responsible for whale strandings.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: We acknowledge that underwater sound has the potential to cause problems for the marine environment. For this reason, the Royal Navy uses sonar in an environmentally responsible way. Military sonar testing and operation is one of the most regulated uses of sound in the ocean.

There is no evidence to show, nor is there reason to believe, that Royal Navy sonar has ever caused a stranding of whales.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: Comprehensive instructions are issued to all our ships' commanding officers for the operational use of sonar in the marine environment. We have adopted a precautionary principle to mitigate effects on the marine environment and are committed to taking all reasonable and practical measures to protect the environment. This guidance employs the key principles of "plan, look, listen, and act", and reflects the best scientific advice available.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) are conducted as a routine element of any UK-led naval exercise. They cover the marine habitat of the operating area and the species likely to be encountered. EIAs are used to better tailor the activity
 
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and ensure that any possible damaging effects are identified during the planning stage of the exercise, and mitigated to reduce their impact to an absolute minimum.

Equipment used in UK-led naval exercises is operated in compliance with current UK environmental legislation, as well as the international conventions signed by the UK.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: For UK-led Royal Navy military exercises, operating procedures are designed to reduce the potential for an adverse environmental impact to a minimum. These include the use, wherever possible, of passive sonar to detect and monitor marine mammals prior to active sonar operations.

We have a fully developed environmental policy and equipment is operated in compliance with current UK environmental legislation, as well as the international conventions signed by the UK. Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) are undertaken for a wide range of our activities in the marine environment, including sonar. Such EIAs cover the marine habitat of the operating area concerned and the species likely to be encountered.

Serious Organised Crime Agency

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): SOCA's approach to reducing the harm done to the UK by serious organised crime differs from that of the precursor agencies: NCS (National Crime Squad), NHTCU (National Hi-Tech Crime Unit), NCIS (National Criminal Intelligence Service), parts of HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) and INDIS (Immigration and Nationality Directorate Intelligence Service). All staff of the precursor agencies who are transferring to SOCA have
 
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been through a preliminary exercise to map them into posts in SOCA. The resources made available to SOCA will be greater than the sum total of the resources available to the precursor agencies. The majority of the facilities of NHTCU will fall to the e-crime team in the intervention directorate of SOCA. The NHTCU's previous role in relation to the use of the internet for paedophilia will pass to the new Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. There are a few national functions that NHTCU historically held which may pass to the e-crime team. Responsibility for these functions is being discussed between ACPO, NHTCU, SOCA and the Home Office.
 
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Sport: Anti-doping

Lord Pendry asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The UK has two laboratories accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency to undertake analysis of doping samples: King's College, London and the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory.



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