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Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if Her Majesty's Government's policy to cease the production of fissile material for explosive purposes will prevent the recycling of fissile material arising from the dismantling of decommissioned nuclear weapons for use in Trident warheads.      [20564]

Mr. Freeman: No. Recycling allows us to keep our stockpile of fissile material at the minimum necessary to meet our operational requirements.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the production of Trident warheads has been completed.      [20566]

Mr. Freeman: No.

Nuclear Emergency Unit

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current establishment and current funding of the nuclear emergency unit based at his Department's main building, Whitehall; and what were the figures for the previous four years.      [20722]

Mr. Soames: The costs for the eight full-time staff currently in the MOD headquarters nuclear accident response organisation are expected to be £300,000 for financial year 1995 96. In the previous four years there were seven full-time staff; costs for 1991 92 are not available but in the intervening years they were as follows: 1992 93: £230,000

1993 94: £247,000

1994 95: £262,000

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the current aims and objectives of the nuclear emergency unit.      [20723]

Mr. Soames: The aims and objectives of the MOD nuclear accident response organisation are to ensure that, in conjunction with the appropriate civil agencies, there would be an effective response to safeguard the general public and MOD personnel in the unlikely event of an accident or other emergency involving defence nuclear material.

Regimental Vehicles

Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what facilities are available to the 1st and 2nd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiments for repair and storage of the regiments' vehicles; if he will list the


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vehicles that are attached to the regiments and estimate the floor area taken up in covered accommodation for these vehicles; and what estimate he has made of the relative size of the 3rd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment.      [21261]

Mr. Soames: The facilities available for the repair and storage of the 1st and 2nd Regiments' vehicles are as follows:

Windsor: 2,970m

Hohne: 2,240m

The vehicles attached to each regiment are:

Tracked

5 Samaritan

16 Striker

48 Scimitar

16 Sultan

30 Spartan

5 Samson

Wheeled

1 Reconnaissance vehicle

2 TUM GS

14 Track 8 ton

1 Staff car

20 TUM FFR

18 Truck 4 ton

1 Van 1 ton

1 Car utility

Plant

2 JCB

The current floor area taken up in covered accommodation for these vehicles is:

Windsor: 3,700m

Hohne: 6,720m

The estimated size of the 3rd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment is 527 personnel and the same number of vehicles as given above.

Naval Gunfire Training

Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what safety precautions are planned to be taken by his Department during naval gunnery support training when this is undertaken off Dodman Point in Cornwall.      [21265]

Mr. Soames: Safety is the paramount consideration in conducting naval gunfire support training. Safety procedures involve a number of distinct and independent checks which must all be completed before the commanding officer can give approval to fire. Moreover, the area will be monitored visually by military observers, and by a range safety craft. These measures are designed to ensure the safety of all marine users in the area. It is a feature of NGS training that the Royal Navy vessel works around all other marine activity, and that there is no question of any exclusion areas, whether for vessels or for people.

Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what Army personnel and civilian work force are involved in naval gunnery support exercises at Lulworth ranges; where these personnel are normally based; and what the job implications are for removing these exercises from Lulworth.      [21264]

Mr. Soames: There are not civilian personnel at Lulworth currently in support of naval gunfire support


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training. Three shore-based Army observers support NGS training at Lulworth and are drawn from 148 Battery Royal Artillery, based at Poole. This battery will continue to support NGS training when it moves to the area off Dodman Point. There are therefore no job implications for personnel at Lulworth.

Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the use of the Lulworth ranges for naval gunnery support training; if the gunfire has always been directed into the sea; and what incidents have been recorded of the projectiles landing onshore when they were aimed at the sea.      [21266]

Mr. Soames: Naval gunfire support training has been carried out at Lulworth without incident for more than 20 years. The firing position is in Weymouth bay, firing parallel with the coast at a target sited two miles out to sea from St. Albans head.

Regimental Staff

Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff there are in the 1st and 2nd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiments; how many are (a) MOD and (b) civilian staff; where they are currently located; and how many staff live (i) on and (ii) off the bases.      [21262]

Mr. Soames: The information is as follows:


                                                         |MOD        |Civilian               

                                             |Military   |civilian   |contractors            

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Household Cavalry Regiment based at Windsor: |527        |14         |46                     

Light Dragoons based in Hohne, Germany:      |527        |1          |37                     

At Windsor, 224 staff live on the base, 363 live off and at Hohne 246 staff live on the base, 319 live off.

Procurement Executive

Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the floor area to be occupied by each employee at the Abbey Wood procurement executive headquarters; what is the equivalent figure currently available to staff working in South Dorset; and what was the original area per employee that had been planned for Abbey Wood at the outset of the project.      [21242]

Mr. Freeman: Within the Abbey Wood headquarters office buildings, which is mainly open plan, the average floor area to be occupied by each employee will be 9.64 sq m, which includes an allowance for storage, IT equipment and local meeting space. For the largely cellular office accommodation occupied by MOD staff in Portland, south Dorset, the average floor area occupied by each employee is some 13.25 sq m. The original average floor area planned at the outset of the Abbey Wood project was 10.52 sq m per employee. More taut accommodation standards are now being implemented.

Royal Armoured Corps

Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the facilities and accommodation currently vacant or under-used at the Royal Armoured


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Corps centre at Bovington and Lulworth; and what facilities and accommodation will become vacant if the RAC training becomes civilianised.      [21259]

Mr. Soames: None of the facilities at the Royal Armoured Corps centre are under-utilised, although there are at present two soldiers' accommodation blocks vacant and 47 married quarters unoccupied. No facilities will become vacant if the RAC training becomes civilianised. A maximum of three accommodation blocks will remain under-utilised.

Naval Gunfire Support

Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what safety arrangements are made at Lulworth ranges when naval gunnery support exercises are being carried out; if the public are allowed to be present on the ranges; if boats, ships and swimmers are excluded from the maritime restriction zone; and if safety boats are in attendance.      [21263]

Mr. Soames: Safety is the paramount consideration in conducting naval gunfire support training. Safety procedures involve a number of distinct and independent checks which must all be completed before the commanding officer can give approval to fire. The area is also monitored visually by military observers, and by a range safety craft. These measures are designed to ensure the safety of all marine users in the area. It is a feature of NGS training that the Royal Navy vessel works around all other marine activity, and thus there is no question of any exclusion zones, whether for vessels or for people. Similarly, NGS training at Lulworth does not affect public access to the landward coastline and environs of Lulworth at all. Only when the range is active for Army tank firings is access on land or to sea controlled.

Third Reconnaissance Battalion

Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has had from hon. Members as to the location of the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion in a location other than Bovington; if he will name those hon. Members who have contacted his Department; and if he will publish the correspondence.      [21267]

Mr. Soames: I have had a number of representations from hon. Members on this subject but it is not my Department's practice to publish details of such correspondence.

Defence Postings (Weymouth and Portland)

Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the number of defence posts which have already been lost in Weymouth and Portland over the past three years and the number of posts he expects to be lost rather than transferred up until the year 2000.      [21243]

Mr. Soames: The number of service and civilian posts in my Department and its agencies in the Weymouth and Portland area has reduced by over 400 in the last three years. Between now and the year 2000 the transfer of functions to new locations means that some 3,000 further posts will move from the area. The majority of these will transfer to the new locations but it is not possible to estimate accurately how many will be saved by efficiency measures.


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Portland Naval Base

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which companies have made a bid to purchase the Portland naval base.      [21238]

Mr. Soames: It is not my Department's policy to divulge details of bidders for redundant military sites.

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department has accepted the highest bid for the Portland naval base.      [21239]

Mr. Soames: My Department has accepted the bid which offers the best long-term solution for the area and reuse of the naval base.

Public Bodies

Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which of the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department are under a statutory requirement to (a) publish their advice to the Government, (b) publish an annual report and (c) lay an annual report before Parliament; and if he will list those bodies with a statutory base;      [21166]

Mr. Soames: The Dartmoor steering group and working party was established on a statutory basis under Command 6837.

The Independent Board of Visitors was established in accordance with the Naval Detention Quarters Rules 1973 for RN detention quarters, and the Imprisonment and Detention Rules Army 1979 for military corrective training centres.

There is no formal requirement for any of MOD's advisory non-departmental public bodies to publish their advice to Government, publish an annual report or lay their annual reports before Parliament.

The annual reports of the Dartmoor steering group and working party and the Review Board for Government Contracts have, however, been placed in the Library of the House on previous occasions.

Alistair Green v . Ministry of Defence

Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what were the total costs to public funds incurred in the case of Alistair Green v. Ministry of Defence; and what costs were incurred after the Ministry paid £32,000 into court.      [19899]

Mr. Freeman: In this case the legal costs to my Department notified to date are in excess of £200,000, mostly incurred after a payment had been made into court. Our practice is to settle compensation claims by agreement whenever this can appropriately be done, but it is necessary to resist those claims which are regarded as unfounded.

Army Vehicles

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 5 April, Official Report , column 1153 , which companies are participating in the evaluation trial for replacement of the Army's Land Rover 1 tonne and three-quarter tonne ambulances.      [20207]

Mr. Freeman: Three companies--Land Rover Ltd., Iveco Ford Truck Ltd. and Steyr Daimler Puch--are currently being evaluated in this competition.


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Fraud

Ms Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made by his Department in reclaiming moneys from the companies Borletti, Junghans and Raufass; and what is the up to date position regarding civil proceedings against Gordon Foxley, members of his family circle and the companies involved in the payment of secret commissions.      [19954]

Mr. Freeman: I refer the hon. Lady to the Comptroller and Auditor General's recently published report, "The Risk of Fraud in Defence Procurement", HC 258 Session 1994 95, 10 March 1995. Chapter 5 contains an extensive description of my Department's response to the Foxley case, including civil proceedings.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Construction Industry

8. Mr. Rogers: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the current state of the construction industry in Northern Ireland.      [19615]

Mr. Moss: The construction industry in Northern Ireland has in terms of its growth in the value of output since 1990 increased by 7.5 percentage points.

Royal Ulster Constabulary

10. Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to commence reorganisation of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.      [19617]

Sir John Wheeler: The Government published their proposals for changes in policing structure in 1994. Following the ceasefires, the RUC and the Police Authority are now carrying out consultations into the future of policing in Northern Ireland.

Peace Support Programme

15. Ms Estelle Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what meetings he has had with European commissioners to discuss the distribution of resources under the special support programme for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.      [19622]

Sir John Wheeler: My right hon. and learned Friend has discussed the special support programme for peace and reconciliation with the President of the European Commission, Mr. Jacques Santer, and the Commissioner of Regional Policy, Mrs. Monika Wolf-Mathies, during their recent visits to Northern Ireland. Officials have also given views on the funding priorities of the programme.

24. Ms Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what meetings he has had with local community organisations in Northern Ireland to discuss the distribution of resources under the European special support programme for peace and reconciliation.      [19632]

Sir John Wheeler: My right hon. and learned Friend has discussed the special programme with representatives of the voluntary sector. In addition, in drawing up proposals for an operational programme, officials are currently involved in an extensive consultation process with interested bodies, including local community


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organisations. These discussions covered a wide range of issues, including the distribution of resources.

Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which Department organised the conference in Newcastle on 29 March about the European Union fund for Peace and Reconciliation; and how many persons were invited in their capacity as elected members of the district councils.      [19935]

Sir John Wheeler: The conference in Newcastle on 29 March 1995 on the European Union initiative for peace and reconciliation was organised by the Department of Finance and Personnel. A total of 248 invitations were issued, 52 of which were sent to the district councils. It was a matter for individual councils to decide whether elected members or officials would attend.

Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of staff of the Labour Relations Agency have been given (a) paid time off work and (b) unpaid time off work to attend the forum for peace and reconciliation in Dublin.      [19904]

Mr. Ancram: One Labour Relations Agency staff member has been given both paid and unpaid time off work, in accordance with the rules governing political activities in the agency's staff handbook, to attend the forum for peace and reconciliation.

Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will consult the Government of the Republic of Ireland about (a) the investment of that part of the EU funding for peace and reconciliation for cross-border projects and (b) the investment of the remaining part of this funding for projects entirely within Northern Ireland.      [19906]

Sir John Wheeler: The special support programme for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland will, as laid down in the European Commission's guidelines, be jointly submitted by both member states. This will require consultation and liaison, particularly in respect of the cross-border elements of the programme. The programme will also reflect the outcome of extensive public consultations in Northern Ireland and in the eligible area of the Republic of Ireland.

Unemployment

17. Mr. Stott : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to tackle pockets of extremely high unemployment in Northern Ireland.      [19625]

Mr. Ancram: I refer the hon. Member to our increasingly successful efforts to attract inward investment, grow tourism, encourage exports and explore innovation by our current companies as well as the training programmes and other job creation measures which are available.

In addition, we are piloting 1,000 places under the community work programme for long-term unemployed in three of the highest areas of unemployment.

Framework Document

18. Ms Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he had received following the publication of the framework document.      [19626]


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Mr. Ancram: The Northern Ireland Office has received 238 letters of varied content from members of the public and from Members of Parliament. My right hon. and learned Friend and I have met a delegation from the grand orange lodge, and answered questions from audiences at a number of speaking engagements in Northern Ireland.

Rules and Regulations

19. Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what rules and regulations he plans to repeal in the next four weeks.      [19627]

Sir John Wheeler: Within the NI Departments and the Northern Ireland Office a total of 11 rules and regulations will be repealed during the next four weeks.

Trade Unions

20. Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what value his Department places on the work of trade unions in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.      [19628]

Mr. Ancram: Trade unions in Northern Ireland make, and have made, a valuable contribution to Northern Ireland's excellent industrial relations record, in combating sectarianism in the work place and in promoting peace and reconciliation. I also commend the work undertaken by the trade unions in encouraging and supporting equality of employment opportunities.


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