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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 16 July 2001

DEFENCE

Project Aquatrine

Brian White: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of Project Aquatrine. [4452]

Mr. Ingram: Project Aquatrine will transfer responsibility for the maintenance and operation of all the Ministry of Defence's water and wastewater assets and infrastructure in Great Britain to private sector service providers.

Four consortiums are bidding for the first package of work of this £2.9 billion private financial deal. An Invitation to Negotiate will be issued to bidders for the first package of work on 16 July 2001.

The consortiums invited to negotiate for this work, covering central southern England, western England and Wales, are:







The preferred bidder will be announced in early 2003, with the contract expected to be awarded in late 2003.

Type 45 Destroyers

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) for what reasons the report by RAND into the bidders for the contract to build type 45 destroyers has been delayed; [2343]

Dr. Moonie: We commissioned RAND to do a study on a range of alternative procurement strategies for our future warship programmes over the next 15 to 20 years, with particular reference to options for the type 45 destroyers. The study is intended to help inform, not make, decisions by the Department within the context of obtaining value for money over the warship programme as a whole.

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The study has not been delayed and RAND have provided their initial findings to the Department. We used these to help assess the best way forward for the type 45 procurement strategy as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 10 July 2001, Official Report, columns 675–85. We will continue to use RAND to advise us on related issues over the next few weeks.

We expect RAND to publish a report based on their findings in the autumn, after consultation with interested parties over the confidentiality of its content, and a copy will be placed in the Library of the House.

Kenya

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision, in the agreement with the Kenyan Government on military training is made for the British Army to clean up live bombs after operations. [3219]

Mr. Ingram: There is no agreement between the British Army and the Kenyan Government for the clearance of live ammunition after training. There is, however, a widely understood military protocol whereby the host nation is responsible for the clearance of military ranges and this is followed in Kenya. The British Army aims to destroy the ammunition it uses as soon as possible after it has been fired. In Kenya, destruction takes place while the units are conducting their training and at the end of the exercise period. Notwithstanding that, in the last two years the British Army has carried out clearance work in support of the Kenyan authorities.

The British Army is alone in that it also trains on privately owned land in Kenya in addition to using Kenyan Department of Defence facilities. The British Army clears any unexploded ordnance from privately owned land as required by their agreements with local landowners.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence at what point the military clearance operation in North Kenya was suspended after the unexploded ordnance specialist left the area. [2795]

Mr. Ingram: I assume my hon. Friend is referring to the clearance operation which took place at Archer's Post earlier this year. The operation was not suspended. It was a planned activity that took place between 7 April and 16 May. The dates for the operation were agreed last year.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the procedure is for the clearing of civilians before and after military training in the Archer's Post and Dol Dol training areas of north Kenya; [2784]

Mr. Ingram: The responsibility for ensuring that civilians are cleared from the Archer's Post and Dol Dol training areas rests with the Kenyan Department of Defence. Wherever the British Army trains with live ammunition it must confirm that the danger area is clear before commencing training. At Archer's Post this is achieved by using range wardens, a helicopter overflight of the danger area and the deployment of danger flags and

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sentries. The sentries and range wardens act to stop civilians entering Archer's Post while training is in progress.

The British Army does not conduct live firing at the Dol Dol area.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department will take responsibility for the deaths and injuries caused by unexploded ordnance in the Archer's Post and Dol Dol areas. [2780]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence's position is that we take responsibility for deaths and injuries where we are shown to be legally liable.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department will ensure that all signs outside training areas used by the British Army in Kenya are intelligible to people who cannot read. [2791]

Mr. Ingram: There are large concrete signs outside live firing areas used by the British Army in Kenya, with words of warning written in English and Samburu. The nomadic tribesman have been grazing their animals in the area for a considerable number of years and are aware that some of the area is a Kenyan Department of Defence live firing military range as it has been for many years. We therefore believe that the signs are well understood by both the local population and nomadic tribesmen that transit the area. My hon. Friend may also wish to note that the range wardens employed throughout the year by the British Army instruct the local population about the dangers posed during live firing and from touching unexploded ordnance.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if any of the unexploded ordnance found in the Archer's Post and Dol Dol training areas were from the British Army. [2792]

Mr. Ingram: I assume my hon. Friend is referring to recent activities where the British Army, in support of the Kenyan Department of Defence, conducted limited clearance operations at Archer's Post. During 2000 a total of 32 ammunition types were recovered, only two of which were found to be unique to the British Army. The Royal Engineers are continuing to analyse the ammunition found earlier this year.

We do not conduct live firing at the Dol Dol training area and have therefore not conducted an explosive ordnance clearance operation at the range. Any live unexploded ordnance found at Dol Dol is therefore a matter for the Kenyan authorities.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many square kilometres of the Archer's Post range were cleared in the operation from March to May. [3208]

Mr. Ingram: The clearance operation covered 64 square kilometres.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many live bombs were found in the recent clean-up operation of Archer's Post from March to May; how many were British made; and how many had batch numbers showing who had fired them; and of these how many had been fired by the British Army. [3207]

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Mr. Ingram: During the recent clearance operation at Archer's Post a total of 271 live ammunition types were found. Work is continuing to establish their provenance.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the British Army first was informed that people were being (a) injured and (b) killed on the Archer's Post and Dol Dol range by live bombs. [3220]

Mr. Ingram: In recent times, the British Army has been aware of three incidents where civilians were killed or injured at Archer's Post. The first of these incidents is believed to have taken place in May 1999.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the British Army intends to clean up the live bombs about which they were informed by Osiligi representatives in late 2000. [3209]

Mr. Ingram: I understand that the ordnance to which my hon. Friend refers was found at the Dol Dol training area. The British Army does not conduct live firing at Dol Dol, and any live ammunition found there is therefore a matter for the Kenyan authorities.


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