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Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many sorties during Exercise Hadrian's Wall entered the airspace (a) within one nautical mile of Hunterston power station, (b) within the Glasgow airport control zone and (c) within the Scottish control zone ; and what permissions were obtained from the relevant authorities for this activity.
|Number ------------------------------------------------------------------- Within one nautical mile of Hunterston Power Station |4 Within the Glasgow Airport Control Zone |7 Within the Scottish Control Zone |29
My Department consulted Scottish Nuclear and Hunterston power station before granting permission for flights within the provost marshal's prohibited area which affords special protection to the power station. Normal air traffic control clearances were obtained from airspace controlling agencies in the case of flights within the Glasgow airport and the Scottish control zones.
Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the nature and purpose of Exercise Hadrian's Wall in December 1993 ; what locations were used during the exercise ; how many personnel and aircraft were involved ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 503forces. The locations used were RAF Boscombe Down, RAF West Freugh, Oban, Mallam Charles camp, Barry Budden camp, Aldourie Castle estate, Rosyth dockyard, Hunterston and some stretches of the Caledonian canal. The exercise involved 450 personnel, seven helicopters, two Hercules transport planes and two Tornados.
Mr. Hanley : A minimum of five flight members are required to operate a Hercules C130K aircraft ; the captain, co-pilot, navigator, air engineer and air loadmaster. The captain is a pilot and responsible for the overall safety of the aircraft ; the co-pilot assists the captain with flight management and acts as a safety pilot in the event of incapacity of the captain ; the navigator is responsible for the safe navigation of the aircraft in all phases of flight ; the air engineer is responsible for all aircraft systems and the air loadmaster is responsible for all aspects of freight, passenger safety and security within the aircraft.
Mr. Nigel Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria, in addition to value for money, his Department will use in coming to a judgment on whether to replace half the existing fleet with the new C- 130J Hercules or to opt for refurbishment.
Mr. Aitken : The basis on which we evaluate bids for military equipment is affordability, value for money, and technical considerations. In considering overall value for money, my Department will consider, with the DTI and Treasury, wider economic factors.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action the Government are taking to end the supply of anti-personnel mines to any faction attempting to buy them ; and what attempts are made to halt the general trade in other weapons to sources outside the law.
Mr. Aitken : The United Kingdom supports responsible international efforts to control trade in defence equipment. We also adopt a responsible approach to the export of defence equipment and have one of the most rigorous systems for scrutinising licence applications. The United Kingdom has not produced or exported conventional anti-personnel landmines for some time.
Mr. Aitken : The DCS is not examining tactical combat aircraft, but is looking at the provision of air transport aircraft in all roles, including basic air trooping, as part of a wider study of procurement projects and practices.
Column 504or with officials in the United States Department of Defense in regard to (a) the implications for United Kingdom policy of the United States removing Iraq from its priority list of terrorist states and (b) the provision of arms, military equipment or defence-related technology to Iraq by the United States or its allies.
Mr. Hanley : Since 1982, my right hon. and learned Friend and his predecessors have had frequent discussions with their United States counterparts covering a wide range of security and defence issues. The topics in question may have been included, but it would involve disproportionate cost to establish the details of such discussions.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he received from his counterparts in the Gulf Co-operation Council in regard to decisions taken at the GCC meeting in Riyadh on 20 to 22 December 1993 affecting British forces in the Gulf.
Mr. Hanley : During his recent visit to the Gulf, my right hon. and learned Friend discussed a wide range of defence-related matters, including the outcome of the GCC meeting in December. The GCC plan for an expansion of the Peninsula Shield force does not affect British forces.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance his Department gave to the production of the "Horizon" programme on the human impact of small battlefield arms, broadcast on 10 January.
Mr. Hanley : Mr. Martin Freeth, the senior producer in the BBC science and features department responsible for the "Horizon" programme, was given a number of unclassified background briefings while examining the feasibility of the programme. When a decision was taken by the BBC to proceed to make the programme, further unclassified briefings and interviews were provided.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans any demonstration that the Trident deployment will not involve any increase in strategic nuclear warheads above Polaris levels.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the maximum number of warheads assumed to be carried by each United States Trident D5 missile under the terms of the strategic arms reduction treaties.
Mr. Hanley : The details of the START I and START II treaties are a matter for the parties to those treaties. Under the memorandum of understanding on the establishment of the data base relating to the treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms-- START I--deployed United States Trident II ((D5) missiles are attributed with eight warheads. START II sets additional limits on the overall number of warheads attributed to deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles and modifies the rules established under START I for reducing the number of warheads attributed to deployed missiles.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy on revealing the number of missiles and warheads deployed on the United Kingdom's Trident submarines ; and in what circumstances the policy is reconsidered.
Mr. Aitken : It is our policy to be as open about the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent as is possible without revealing information which might diminish the effectiveness of the system. For that reason we do not make public the number of missiles or warheads actually deployed on our submarines.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what representations he has received regarding a complete ban on the movement of submarines in designated fishing areas ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what discussions he intends to initiate with appropriate organisations and Her Majesty's Navy following the recent incident involving a fishing vessel and HMS Valiant ;
(3) what discussions he has had with the Royal Navy regarding the alleged breaching of guidelines on separation distances between submarines and fishing vessels ;
(4) when he expects to receive the report of the Royal Navy inquiry into the incident involving HMS Valiant during naval exercise off Cape Wrath ; and if he will make a statement on this incident.
I should, however, like to report that, during a training exercise off the coast of north-west Scotland on 8 November 1993, the submarine HMS Valiant's towed sonar array was lost after it apparently caught on the trawl of the fishing vessel Audacious. Communications were at once established with the fishing vessel, which reported that all was well.
A full investigation was immediately put in hand. This is not yet complete, but preliminary findings have concluded that HMS Valiant accidentally breached the 4,000 yard separation distance laid down in the submarine and fishing vessel code of practice. However, as soon as this was realised, HMS Valiant, in accordance with the requirements of the code, immediately reduced speed, returned to periscope depth and established communications to ensure the safety of other vessels. The towed array which HMS Valiant lost is a lightweight plastic tube and, as such, presents no hazard to the other vessels.
I have instructed that the report be concluded as soon as possible and its findings made available to the members of the Department of Transport's fishing industry safety group sub-group on submarine and fishing vessel interaction, which includes representative of the fishermen's federations. It does appear that, while the code of practice was accidentally breached, its subsequent observance prevented a possibly more serious incident. Nonetheless, the issue of safety at sea is one which I take very seriously and I shall be considering what lessons might be learnt for the future.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what detailed investigations have taken place into alleged incidents between submarines in Scottish waters and fishing vessels within the past 12 months.
Mr. Hanley : Other than the surface collison which occurred between HMS Opossum and the FV Amber Rose in poor visibility on 14 July 1993, in which no one was hurt and only minimal damage sustained, the only incident to have occurred in or close to Scottish waters within the last 12 months is that between HMS Valiant and the FV Audacious. The surface collision between Opossum and Amber Rose, which is not covered by the code of practice as this governs the conduct of dived submarines, was investigated by the MOD and the marine accident investigation branch of the Department of Transport.
Column 507The incident between Valiant and Audacious is currently the subject of an internal MOD investigation, the findings of which will be made available as soon as possible to members of the Department of Transport's fishing industry safety group sub-group dealing with submarine and fishing vessels matters.
Mr. Hanley : A major review of the Army's policy on training in shooting skills, including the role of the Regular Army skill-at-arms meeting, has recently been completed. The RASAM, which involved eight shooting days, was highly manpower intensive. Against the background of the Army's very heavy commitments at a time of restructuring and reducing numbers, I have taken the view that RASAM should be replaced by a one-day event, to be known as the Regular Army Queen's Medal competition. The new competition will continue to encourage excellence in Army shooting and meet the terms governing the award of the Queen's Medal. Competitors will be selected from divisional and district meetings, to be held under new guidelines issued by the Inspector General, Doctrine and Training. These guidelines will be designed to ensure a high standard of marksmanship throughout each Army unit, and that resources are available to improve the less proficient as well as enhance the skills of those who are already excellent shots.
The Royal Navy, the Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force will continue to hold their own central skill-at-arms meeting, overlapping with the new Army competition. This will be run by the Royal Air Force on behalf of the other services. International competitors will be able to take part, as before, in the various service and National Rifle Association competitions as well as in the international match on the last day of the meeting.
The Territorial Army skill-at-arms meeting and the combined cadet force (schools) and the inter-service cadet rifle meeting will take place as before.
Mr. Hanley : Our policy continues to be that if, in time, the United States and former Soviet arsenals were further reduced substantially, and there had been no significant improvements in defensive capability, we would consider what further contribution we might make to nuclear arms control in the changed circumstances.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 30 November, Official Report, column 527, if an increase in accuracy of delivery allows a reduction in the number of warheads deployed or the yield of the warheads deployed.
Mr. Hanley : The United Kingdom is not party to all nuclear arms control treaties, most of which are bilateral between the nuclear super- powers, but we are not aware of any that measure nuclear capability in this way.
(2) what are the implications of the recently announced reductions in frontline RAF combat aircraft for the total procurement buy of the Eurofighter 2000 for the RAF.
Mr. Aitken : A decision on the number of Eurofighter 2000 aircraft to be procured for the RAF is not required until 1995. However, for planning purposes, we have assumed--and declared to our partners--an offtake of 250 aircraft, with deliveries commencing in 2000.
Mr. Hanley : Our current plan is to procure 250 Eurofighter 2000s to replace RAF Tornado F3s and Jaguars. The scope for replacing other RAF aircraft by the Eurofighter 2000 remains under consideration.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what slippage has occurred in the expected initial delivery date of the Eurofighter 2000 to the RAF since the inception of the programme ; and what are the cost implications.
Mr. Aitken : The initial delivery date of the Eurofighter 2000 to the RAF has slipped by some two years from that envisaged at the start of development. Most of this results from the decision which the four partner nations took in December 1992 to delay the commitment to production. The cost implications of this delay will depend on the outcome of negotiations with industry on the necessary contract changes.
Mr. Ian Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 12 January, Official Report, column 156, if he will list the planned time scale for the project to move the Procurement Executive to Abbey Wood ; by which date the decision on new computers will be taken ; and what is his Department's latest estimate of the cost of the new computer equipment and software.
Mr. Aitken : The Procurement Executive's future corporate IT system is planned to replace the PE's existing IT system from the completion of collocation. A final decision will be taken later this year when the definition stage is complete.
It would be prejudicial to the tendering process to disclose the current estimates.
Sir Paul Beresford : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations have been made to his Department following the announcement by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on 1 March concerning the Government's export licensing policy towards Iran.
Mr. Needham : We have received a number of representations about export business which was entered into before the moratorium on export licences was imposed on 17 December 1992. An exception has been made in one case to date : this concerns completion of a contract for repair and overhaul of non-lethal aircraft components, for which the company concerned held a valid export licence issued before the moratorium was announced. For reasons beyond its control the company was unable to complete the work within the time frame of the extant licence, which we have now renewed.
Mr. McLoughlin : The DTI is currently guaranteeing an average of around 240 loans each month. From its inception in June 1981 to 30 September 1993 a total of 34,689 loans have been guaranteed under the scheme.
Mr. McLoughlin : Complaints are received frequently from businesses unable to obtain a loan under the small firms loan guarantee scheme. The vast majority of these are from businesses which either fall outside of the scope of the scheme or whose proposals have been rejected by lenders on commercial grounds. With both public and lender funds at risk, successful applications under the scheme must be assessed carefully as commercially viable and meet fully the other conditions of the scheme.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he will make the recommendations of the construction task force, and the evidence upon which they are based, public ; and if they will form the basis of a consultation exercise between his Department, the fire and emergency planning department of the Home Office and organisations representing the fire service ;
(2) if he will provide details of the findings and recommendations of the construction task force with regard to the provision and enforcement of the current fire safety laws and regulations in England and Wales.
Mr. Heseltine : The recommendations of all seven business task forces will be published shortly and the working documents on which they are based will be made available. The recommendations of the construction task force and other views will help inform any wider consideration of fire safety matters.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make arrangements for the data protection registrar to inspect relevant contracts with suppliers of IT services that involve the use of personal data held by his Department in order to check whether all appropriate arrangements in relation to the Data Protection Act 1984 have been made, and whether such contracts make provisions for the registrar to make random inspections in order to check the suppliers' compliance in with the eighth data protection principle.
Mr. Eggar : The Data Protection Registrar has a wide range of powers, under the Data Protection Act 1984, to ensure that all individuals and organisations holding personal data on computer systems are registered and observe the data protection principles as required by the Act. When IT services are contracted out by a data user, the contractor and the user will be subject to the application of the data protection principles, and to the registrar's powers to promote compliance with them, as provided for in the Act. It is for the registrar to decide how he will use his powers under the Act, and I do not consider that any further arrangements are necessary by this Department for him to discharge his duties effectively.
Mr. Eggar : Factors which led to an increase in the cost of ministerial cars were (a) an increase in the rate of VAT from 15 per cent. to 17.5 per cent. which accounted for an additional £12,000, (b) an increase in the weekly rate charged for cars by the Department of Environment which accounted for £38,500 and (c) the costs relating to two additional Ministers, since April 1992, which amounted to £105,400 for a total increase of £156,000. Against this can be offset reduced expenditure of £210,000 on cars following the amalgamation of the Department of Energy with the Department of Trade and Industry.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list all the outstanding applications for new telecommunications licences, together with the date of the placing of the application with him.
Mr. McLoughlin : The "Register of Licence Applications" which is published weekly by OFTEL lists all applications for new telecommunications licences which have been made since the publication of the duopoly review White Paper in March 1991. The register does not list the dates on which the applications were made ; these are provided in the table for all applications under consideration appearing on the register as at 14 January 1994.
Column 511Since publication of the White Paper, 35 licences for new telecommunication systems have been issued.
Name of applicant |Date of application ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ National Network Ltd. |30 July 1991 Mercury Personal Communications Ltd. |11 November 1991 Atlantic Telecom |19 November 1991 Millicom Holdings (UK) Ltd. |4 December 1991 Atlantic Telecommunications Ltd. |13 December 1991 Sprint Holding (UK) Ltd. |3 January 1992 Hutchison Microtel Ltd. |5 February 1992 WorldCom International Inc. |11 February 1992 BRT Ltd. |28 February 1992 Taxi Rank Telephones Ltd. |18 March 1992 Atlantic Telecommunications Ltd. |20 March 1992 Telecom Securicor Cellular Radio Ltd. |2 April 1992 SAT-COM |29 June 1992 Amera Tela Communications (UK) Ltd. |22 October 1992 East Midlands Telecommunications Ltd. |23 November 1992 ANT Nachrichtentechnik GmbH |3 December 1992 Telstra (UK) Ltd. |8 January 1993 Transline Europe Ltd. |10 February 1993 Telia International UK Ltd. |8 March 1993 INCOM (UK) Ltd. |25 March 1993 Midlands Cable Communications Ltd. |30 March 1993 AT&T (UK) Ltd. |15 April 1993 NORWEB plc |23 April 1993 Yorkshire Cable Group Ltd. |5 May 1993 Videotron City and Westminster Ltd. |13 May 1993 Securicor Datatrak Ltd. |30 June 1993 Premium Phone Services Ltd. |6 July 1993 Videcom Customer Services Ltd. |26 July 1993 United Artists Communications (North Thames Estuary) Ltd. |27 July 1993 Racal Network Services Ltd. |16 August 1993 INCOM (UK) Ltd. |27 September 1993 Midland Network Services Ltd. |16 November 1993 Services Sound and Vision Corporation |1 December 1993 NEWCO (BT/MCI joint venture) |23 December 1993 BT |* Mercury Communications Ltd. |* * Applications for licences to provide terrestrial flight telecommunication services dating from before the Duopoly Review. They are being taken forward following allocation of radio spectrum at the 1992 World Administrative Radio Conference.