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Armoured Vehicles

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the establishment strength is of (a) Warrior variants, (b) Challenger 1, (c) Challenger 2, (d) Saxon variants, (e) AVF 430 variants, (f) Sabre, (g) Striker, (h) Scimitar, (i) Spartan, (j) Sultan, (k) Samaritan and (l) Samson; what percentage of establishment strength in each category are serviceable for immediate availability; and if he will make a statement. [152461]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 7 March 2001]: I will write to the right hon. and learned Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

15 Mar 2001 : Column: 675W

Depleted Uranium

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence from what sources his Department acquired depleted uranium (a) materials, (b) components and (c) ammunition after 1992. [153197]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 14 March 2001]: The Ministry of Defence has made several acquisitions of equipment containing depleted uranium (DU) since 1992.

Two types of DU-based ammunition are in service with British Forces: the UK manufactured 120 mm anti-armour round and the US manufactured 20 mm RN Phalanx round.

Phalanx ammunition is sold to the UK via the US Department of Defense (DOD). All of DOD's DU comes from three US Department of Energy (DOE) gaseous diffusion plants: Paducah, Kentucky; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and Portsmouth, Ohio.

Royal Ordnance, who manufacture the 120 mm anti- armour round, buy their DU from Starmet Corporation who in turn buy it from DOE. They have no practical way of determining exactly where the input material came from. They believe, however, that it was mostly from Paducah, Kentucky, but it was all produced at their plants at Concord and Barnwell in the US.

In 1998, Royal Hospital Haslar purchased equipment from ADAC Laboratories in which DU is used as a radiation shield. Hercules C-130J aircraft, which use DU as counter-balance weights in their Flight Control System, have been purchased from Lockheed Martin since 1992. In December 1993, the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) acquired 2.5 tonnes of DU plate from AEA Technology, Harwell.

In April 1999, the Defence Radiology Protection Service, part of DERA, acquired 62 kg of DU from Royal Ordnance Speciality Materials, Wolverhampton for corrosion research. Most recently, in January 2001, three 30 mm A-10 rounds were brought back from Kosovo for research purposes.

Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if test firing of DU shells at the Dundrennan range is exempt from regulation under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993. [151848]

Mr. Spellar: While the Ministry of Defence is formally exempt from Radioactive Substances Act 1993, we follow the principles and spirit of the regulations. Periodic visits to the Dundrennan range are carried out by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Dr. Jack Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence at which of his Department's test locations in the United Kingdom the firing of depleted uranium projectiles has taken place; how many test firings have been made at each location; what arrangements are in place for the protection and monitoring of people and the environment; and if he will make a statement. [144771]

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidelines his Department follows when deciding at which depleted uranium munitions may be (a) fired, (b) stored and (c) transported. [144989]

15 Mar 2001 : Column: 676W

Nuclear Convoys

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the RAF Wittering care and maintenance of TCHDs will cease. [153729]

Mr. Spellar: It is planned that the care and maintenance of Truck Cargo Heavy Duty (TCHD) Mark II vehicles at RAF Wittering will cease by 31 March 2002.

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who is in overall control of TCHD Mark II transports; and which department is in command of TCHD operations. [153728]

Mr. Spellar: On 1 April 1999 the Chief of Defence Logistics assumed overall responsibility for nuclear convoy operations.



Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 1 March 2001, Official Report, columns 736-37W, on Israel, if he will list the responses received by the European Union from the Government of Israel to the demarches, statements and representations listed. [152608]

Mr. Wilson: In reply to UK and EU representations the Israeli authorities have sought to justify their policies and actions. They have asserted that the continued closures and the practice of extra judicial killing are necessary for the protection of Israeli lives. We understand the importance of combating terrorism, but these sustained collective punishments radicalise the Palestinian population and fuel violence in the Occupied Territories. They cannot, therefore, achieve their stated purpose. We will press the new Israeli Government to end these practices and, as a specific first step, to resume the payment of revenues withheld from the Palestine Authority. We will also press the Palestinian leadership to restore security co-operation and make every effort in good faith to calm the violence.


Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will set out the agenda of his recent discussion with the Commonwealth Secretary-General. [152892]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 9 March 2001]: The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Commonwealth Secretary-General on 21 February. They discussed the latest political and economic situation in Zimbabwe. They also discussed the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting on 19-20 March and agreed that the situation in Zimbabwe should be addressed by Ministers. They agreed on the importance of sending a Commonwealth team to Zimbabwe and it reporting back to CMAG.

15 Mar 2001 : Column: 677W

Arms Exports

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration he gave to the EU code of conduct on arms exports in deciding to issue a licence for the refurbishment of Moroccan heavy artillery in occupied Western Sahara. [153672]

Mr. Wilson: The export licence application for artillery spare parts to Morocco and the subsequent appeal were judged against the EU code of conduct, as are all export licence applications considered by my Department. The Department of Trade and Industry is the Department responsible for co-ordinating the export licence application process and granting licences. As a part of this process the Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides advice to the DTI on individual export licence applications, and any subsequent appeals.


Mr. Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the supply of components for the repair and maintenance of military DROPS trailers used by the Irish contingent in KFOR. [154447]

Mr. Vaz: We are happy to approve an export licence for the supply of goods needed for the repair and maintenance of military DROPS trailers used by the Irish contingent of KFOR. The goods will assist KFOR in the valuable work they are doing reconstructing a peaceful Kosovo.

The goods appear on the UK's Military List. UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1160 (1998) prohibits the sale or supply of arms and related material to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However, UNSCR 1244 (1999) provides that the prohibition imposed by UNSCR 1160 shall not apply to arms and related material for the use of the international civil and security presences in Kosovo.

15 Mar 2001 : Column: 678W


Mr. Pound: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes there have been in United Nations sanctions in relation to Liberia. [153352]

Mr. Wilson [pursuant to his reply, 8 March 2001, c. 281-82W]: I would like to correct two textual errors in my answer of 8 March to my hon. Friend.

The UN Security Council resolution adopted on 7 March imposing mandatory UN sanctions in relation to Liberia was in fact UN Security Council resolution 1343.

The travel ban imposed by that resolution, which enters into force on 7 May, is on senior members of the Liberian Government and military and their spouses and any other individuals providing financial and military support to armed rebel groups in countries neighbouring Liberia, as designated by the UN Sanctions Committee.

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