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DMSO Solvent Experiments

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service volunteers have been exposed to the solvent DMSO in experiments since 1990 at the Chemical Defence Establishment at Porton Down; what the purpose was of these experiments; in what years these experiments took place; what the conclusions were of these experiments; on what dates the Independent Ethics Committee scrutinised these experiments; and if he will place in the Library copies of the technical reports which arose out of these experiments. [157328]

Dr. Moonie: Since 1990, the Chemical and Biological Defence Sector at Porton Down has undertaken studies in which 25 service volunteers were exposed to small amounts of dimethylsulphoxide (DMSO). The two protocols covering this work were submitted to the Ethical Subgroup of the Defence Scientific Advisory Committee (DSAC) Medical Committee in November 1989 and April 1990, respectively. The studies were designed to investigate whether DMSO could be used as a chemical warfare agent simulant (training agent). Volunteers were exposed to either DMSO applied as a liquid to the skin or as an inhaled vapour. The quantity of the metabolite dimethylsulphide (DMS) exhaled on their breath was measured.

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The results of these studies have not been written up in any technical reports but the assessment was that DMSO was not suitable for the requirement.

Refrigerants

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which buildings and premises (a) owned and (b) leased by his Department use (i) chlorofluorocarbons and (ii) hydrochlorofluorocarbons for refrigeration and other energy needs; and if he will give details of such use and the reasons for it. [153012]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 9 March 2001]: This information is not held centrally in the form requested and will take a little time to compile. I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to what extent his Department's building in Whitehall uses hydrofluorocarbons for (a) refrigeration and (b) air conditioning; what amounts of hydrofluorocarbons have been purchased in each year since 1995; and what plans he has to phase out the (i) purchase and (ii) use of hydrofluorocarbons. [153014]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 9 March 2001]: As far as can be ascertained from our records, minimal use of hydrofluorocarbons is currently made in the operation of Main Building, Whitehall. Known uses include small scale refrigeration equipment, small air conditioning units and drinking water coolers. Only very small amounts of hydrofluorocarbons would have been purchased since 1995. We have no current plans to phase out the purchase or use of hydrofluorocarbons in Main Building. However, any use of hydrofluorocarbons in relating to operating the building will continue to follow the Government policy laid down in Climate Change the UK Programme (November 2000).

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's policy is regarding the purchase of (a) hydrocarbons and (b) other environmentally benign refrigerants to meet the refrigeration and other energy needs of buildings and premises (i) owned and (ii) leased by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [153013]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 9 March 2001]: It is the policy of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) that hydrocarbons and other environmentally benign refrigerants will be routinely considered as replacements for ozone depleting substances both in existing and new refrigeration applications in MOD buildings and premises. These refrigerants will be utilised wherever they provide an acceptable solution in terms of safety, technical feasibility and efficiency.

Training Rounds

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many training rounds were used by (a) RAF and (b) Fleet Air Arm pilots, by aircraft type, in the last 12 months. [156976]

Mr. Spellar: I am withholding this information in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to Defence, Security and International Relations.

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Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if all the documents in his Department relating to the official inquiry in 1970 into allegations that the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment had experimented on old people have been placed in the Public Record Office; and if he will make a statement. [157304]

Dr. Moonie: No, but we are in the process of transferring these to the Public Records Office.

Defence Committees (UK Membership)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the UK contribution to staffing (a) the Political and Security Committee, (b) the Military Committee of the European Union and (c) the Military Staff of the European Union. [158323]

Mr. Hoon: The Political and Security Committee (PSC) of the EU is composed of national representatives of senior/ambassadorial level dealing with all aspects of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, including the Common European Security and Defence Policy (CESDP). Each of the EU member states (including the UK) has a representative.

The EU Military Committee is composed of the EU member states' Chiefs of Defence, represented on a day-to-day basis by a national military representative, based in Brussels. It gives military advice and makes recommendations to the PSC, and provides military direction to the Military Staff.

The EU Military Staff will provide military expertise and support to the CESDP. The Military Staff posts are still in the process of being filled. The UK will hold 13 of the 135 posts, including the Deputy Director General of the EUMS.

EU Deployment

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the way in which his Department will hand over data to the European Union military staff for identifying possible assets for EU deployment. [158324]

Mr. Hoon: Information is passed to the European Union Military Staff in accordance with the appropriate security regulations and procedures.

The UK has identified a range of forces and capabilities it could contribute to the achievement of the EU's Headline Goal. Deployment of forces for a particular operation will depend on a national decision in light of circumstances at the time.

Fleet Capability

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the fleet size is of (a) Hercules C1, (b) Hercules C3, (c) Hercules C4 and (d) Hercules C5; how many on 1 April were (i) fully serviceable, (ii) unserviceable 1 line, (iii) unserviceable 2 line, (iv) unserviceable 3/4 line, (v) on trials, (vi) held in reserve and (vii) undergoing upgrade; what percentage of the fleet this represents for each category; and if he will make a statement. [157605]

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Mr. Spellar: Figures are not available for 1 April which was a Sunday. I will write to the right hon. and learned Member regarding general availability of the Hercules fleet.

Hercules C130J

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Hercules C130J are in service with the RAF; when they received military aircraft release; and if he will make a statement. [157641]

Mr. Spellar: As at 6 April, 15 of the 25 Hercules C-130J aircraft ordered were in service with the RAF, and a further two aircraft were in the process of being accepted from the Contractor. Initial Military Aircraft Release was issued on 17 January 2000. The aircraft are currently cleared for strategic (cargo transportation) operations. A revised Military Aircraft Release covering tactical operations (cargo and paratroop aerial delivery) is planned for mid 2002.

UK Nuclear Defence Policy

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the United Kingdom's obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement with the United States of America. [158100]

Mr. Hoon: The United Kingdom's obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are fully compatible with the terms of the 1958 UK/US Agreement for Co-operation on the Uses of Atomic Energy for Mutual Defence Purposes.

Aldermaston and Los Alamos

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the nature was of the cargo sent from AWE Aldermaston to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico via RAF Brize Norton and Kirtland Airforce Base in Albuquerque on 2 April. [158097]

Mr. Hoon: I am withholding the details under Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government.

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the relationship between the nuclear weapons laboratories at Aldermaston and Los Alamos. [158099]

Mr. Hoon: The laboratories continue to enjoy a close working relationship on nuclear weapons science and technology under the terms of the 1958 US/UK Mutual Defence Agreement.


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