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Meteor Missile

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the Joint Strike Fighter will be able to carry the meteor missile internally. [143329]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence to my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Stinchcombe) on 17 January 2001, Official Report, columns 226-28W.

The future weapons strategy for a UK JSF is still being developed. JSF would allow for the internal and external carriage of a range of air-to-air and air-to- surface weapons, including those meeting UK-specific requirements. In the case of Meteor, modifications would be needed for the missile to be carried internally.

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Porton Down

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research (a) his Department and (b) the chemical defence establishment, Porton Down, has carried out to compare the number of individuals exposed to nerve agent in experiments with the numbers exposed to these same chemicals in the military experimental programmes of other countries. [146691]

Dr. Moonie: The Chemical and Biological Defence Sector of DERA at Porton Down has not undertaken any detailed comparison of the numbers of individuals exposed to nerve agents in the course of the Service Volunteer Programme and of those exposed to nerve agents in the military trials programmes of other countries. The number possibly exposed in the UK programme was 3,400.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 14 December 2000, Official Report, column 223W, on Porton Down volunteers, if his Department will compile reports on the nerve agent studies involving volunteers as part of the research to establish the definitive numbers. [146688]

Dr. Moonie: Yes, we intend to identify the numbers of volunteers involved in each of the studies conducted at Porton Down. It is our intention to publish the findings.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) for what reasons the chemical defence establishment, Porton Down, initiated the survey of the health of service volunteers exposed to nerve agents reported in the document "A long-term follow-up of volunteers exposed to GB sarin (CDE Technical Note 175)" in July 1973; [146689]

Dr. Moonie: CDE Technical Note 175 (TN 175) was published in July 1973 and was the second of three similar studies. (The other two were TN 120 published in February 1972 and TN 1010 published in August 1989). The work which led to CDE Technical Note 175 was a small scale study initiated by staff at Porton Down. This was intended to identify any long-term health effect of single exposure to nerve agents during the volunteer programme. An examination of the medical records of individuals exposed to nerve agents during the remainder of their time in service indicated no increased incidence of ill health in comparison to a control group.

I have arranged for a copy of the document to which the hon. Member refers together with TN 120 to be placed in the Library of the House (TN 1010 was placed in the Library in December 2000). Consideration as to whether or not the document should be placed in the Public Records Office will be given under the terms of the Public Records Acts 1958 and 1967.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service volunteers were tested with the oripavine derivative TL 2636 by staff of the chemical defence establishment, Porton Down, and in what years; for what reasons the tests were (a) started and (b) ended; what the results of these tests were; how many technical papers recording the results of these tests have been produced by Porton Down staff; and what research has

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been carried out by his Department to establish the long-term effects of this chemical on the health of individuals. [146687]

Dr. Moonie: The Service Volunteer Programme at the Chemical and Biological Defence Sector of DERA at Porton Down has undertaken research with the oripavine derivative TL 2636 as an incapacitating agent, part of which has involved service volunteers. The results of this aspect of research are collated in two formal technical papers, one of which covers the period between August 1961 and November 1963 and the second which details a particular trial in January 1968. However, there are several other technical papers which discuss different aspects of the research programme pertaining to this compound.

The volunteer studies were undertaken because there was concern that this or similar compounds may be deployed against the UK armed forces to cause temporary incapacitation. A total of 141 service volunteers were involved in these studies which concluded that oripavine had the potential to cause both physical and mental incapacitation.

To date no long-term follow-up studies have been undertaken, however TL 2636 is a member of the same group of drugs as morphine which has been used clinically for many years. The current evidence suggests that following single, acute doses of such compounds there are no significant long-term effects on health.

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many scientific procedures on animals were carried out at Porton Down in each of the last five years. [146461]

Dr. Moonie: The table shows the number of procedures for the last five years which have been reported to the Home Office by the Chemical and Biological Defence Sector of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) at Porton Down.



Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what decisions his Department has made regarding intellectual property rights which will (a) be transferred

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to the privatised DERA and (b) stay with the retained DERA; if he will list them; how many intellectual property rights are still to be decided upon; and if he will make a statement. [146454]

Dr. Moonie: I refer my hon. Friend to the announcement my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence made in the House on 24 July 2000, Official Report, columns 778-79, about our intention to proceed with the implementation of the Core Competence model for the DERA public-private partnership. Under Core Competence, around three-quarters of the current DERA organisations will be turned into a company, referred to as NewDERA. For strategic reasons, the remainder will be retained within the Ministry of Defence to carry out functions that could not appropriately be transferred to the private sector. This part will be known as the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

As part of the PPP implementation process, we are currently carrying out a major programme to identify intellectual property rights within those elements of DERA that will form the new company. This programme is not yet complete, so no list is available. It is our intention that IPR owned by MOD that was developed within those areas of DERA that will form NewDERA should be transferred to the new company. This in essence would mean that NewDERA would be in the same position as it would have been had it been an industry contractor for research and technology work. The balance of MOD-owned IPR currently held by DERA will remain with DSTL.

We are committed to ensuring that NewDERA will have access only to that IPR which it has a right to and is necessary for its continuing business with MOD. Use of third party intellectual property by NewDERA will be subject to contractual constraints involving the owner where required.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the staff budget for DERA is; and what proportion of that budget is allocated for expenditure in Scotland. [147012]

Dr. Moonie: The DERA staff budget for the financial year 1999-2000 was £355.3 million of which some 2.7 per cent. was in respect of expenditure in Scotland.

Training (Altcar)

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) regular forces, (b) reserves and (c) cadets have used the reserve forces training camp at Altcar, Hightown, Merseyside in each of the last 10 years; and what training is provided there. [146946]

Mr. Spellar: The facilities at Altcar offer a variety of training, including skill at arms training, specialised individual and collective training (including nuclear, biological and chemical and fighting in built up areas) and fitness training.

In terms of usage, the Ministry of Defence collects data on the numbers of personnel occupying bed spaces and the numbers who actually fire on the ranges. This information is shown in the tables.

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Numbers occupying overnight accommodation at Altcar training camp

YearRegular armyOther servicesTACadetsTotal

Numbers involved in firing on the ranges

YearOutdoor range number of firersIndoor range number of firers

My hon. Friend should note that those occupying overnight accommodation do not necessarily participate in firing on the ranges. Similarly, those participating in firing do not all stay at the camp overnight.

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