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US-UK Strategic Defence Initiative

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 6 March 2001, Official Report, column 176W, regarding the US-UK strategic defence initiative, which areas of research each of the letters of offer and acceptance covers; and what the contract numbers are of each of the letters of offer and acceptance signed since 1 May 1997. [154794]

Mr. Hoon: All five letters of offer and acceptance cover research into the diverse nature of the ballistic missile threat and the feasibility of countering it with missile defence systems based on technologies currently available. Contract numbers are HQ0006-98-C-0015, HQ0006-99-C-007, HQ0006-99-C-0004, HQ0006-00-C- 0003 and HQ0006-01-C-0002.

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 528W


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations led him to suspend JS DC1 88/00. [155584]

Mr. Spellar: Representations were received from solicitors acting for the United Grand Lodge of England. I subsequently authorised a temporary withdrawal of the Instruction concerned pending a review of policy towards societies such as Freemasons.

Defence Diversification Councils

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in establishing defence diversification councils. [155093]

Dr. Moonie: The Defence Diversification Agency, established in 1999, is making excellent progress. A consultative period to consider the future of the Agency has just ended. We shall be considering the views put to us before reaching final decisions. As stated in the Consultative Document, we shall consider further the establishment of a defence diversification council, or similar group, in the light of experience of the new organisation.


Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions in the last two years military aircraft from the Turkish air force have entered the no-fly zone in northern Iraq. [155064]

Mr. Hoon: The northern no-fly zone was established on humanitarian grounds in an effort to prevent Saddam Hussein from repressing the Kurdish civilian population from the air. The zone was not established to monitor the activity of our NATO allies. We therefore routinely collect information only on the activity of Iraqi aircraft.

RAF Bases (Commercial Development)

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to promote the regeneration of former RAF bases for commercial aviation use. [152703]

Dr. Moonie [pursuant to his reply, 19 March 2001, c. 10-11]: I must correct an error regarding the current position on planning. The planning application for the former RAF Finningley has not been called in for determination by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR). The correct position is that the planning application has been approved by the local authority and that DETR is now considering whether or not to call in the application.