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Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the number of Afghan civilians killed as a result of allied coalition use of bombs and missiles since military action began; and if he will publish the total of civilians killed in Afghanistan as a result of allied forces for each day until military action ends. [14264]

Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence gave on 9 November 2001, Official Report, column 432W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn).

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance has been provided to the (a) print and (b) broadcast media in respect of the (i) publication and (ii) broadcast of details of the activities of (A) British armed forces and (B) the SAS since military activities started in Afghanistan. [14690]

Mr. Hoon: Guidance to the media on areas where public disclosure could damage UK security and other interests is set out in standing Defence Advisory Notices. These are established by the Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee (DPBAC) which consists of representatives from Government and the media. The Committee's main task is to oversee a voluntary code which operates between Departments who have responsibility for national security and the media. Further information is set out in the DPBAC website

19 Nov 2001 : Column: 17W

Since the terrorists attacks of 11 September, the Secretary of the DPBAC has written twice to editors, enlarging on the general advice in the standing Defence Advisory Notices and reminding them to consult him if considering publication of details which might endanger lives and/or operations.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what languages were used for the labelling of (a) cluster bombs, (b) food parcels and (c) leaflets dropped in Afghanistan; [15773]

Mr. Ingram: I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

MOD Police Vehicles

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the purchasing policy of the MOD police on UK-built vehicles is; how many MOD police vehicles are operated; and what makes of vehicles are used by the MOD police. [15169]

Dr. Moonie: The Defence Procurement Agency purchases vehicles for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Police, on a best value for money basis, looking at whole life cycle costings, through competition. As at 13 November 2001 the MOD Police are currently operating 520 vehicles from various manufacturers, as shown in the table:

Long distance vehicles1

NBC Warfare

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what liaison takes place between his Department and the NHS regarding preparations for nuclear, biological and chemical attack. [16160]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 October 2001, Official Report, columns 239–40W, to the hon. Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne).

19 Nov 2001 : Column: 18W

Defence Academy

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list the names and appointments held by the board selecting the head of the Defence Academy; [15346]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 16 November 2001]: The head of the Defence Academy, Sir Roger Jackling, was appointed on the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Staff and the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defence, fully supported by the chiefs of staff who had previously considered a number of military candidates in the Senior Appointments Committee. The recommendation was accepted by the Secretary of State for Defence and subsequently reported to the Cabinet Office Senior Appointments Selection Committee.

Defence Ministers had previously decided that, in the overall context of Defence training, the first head of the Defence Academy should be either a senior military officer or a MOD civil servant. Since all of the candidates for consideration were internal and their suitability was well recognised within the MOD, no interviews were held.

Sir Roger Jackling, presently the second permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence, will take up this appointment in January 2002. Sir Roger will be paid within the band of £100,000 to £110,000 in the appropriate salary range for civil service appointments at this level. The head of the Defence Academy's budget will be established with effect from 1 April 2002. The precise size of the budget has yet to be determined but it is expected to be in the region of £90 million.

Low Flying

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the next review of warplane low-flying practice zones covering North York Moors and East Cleveland area will be held. [16048]

Dr. Moonie: Military Low Flying takes place within a number of Low Flying Areas (LFAs) which together form the UK Low Flying System (UKLFS). The UKLFS is kept under regular review and this work is supported by a rolling programme of detailed inspections on the ground. LFA 11, within which my hon. Friend's constituency lies, will be inspected next year as part of this programme.

Vaccines Research Programme

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total cost to date of research conducted by (a) his Department and (b) consultants on behalf of his Department, into the health effects of the multiple immunisations programme implemented for service

19 Nov 2001 : Column: 19W

personnel and medical auxiliaries who served in the Gulf War; and what resources are allocated for future research. [15577]

Dr. Moonie: As at 14 November 2001, £3,045,188 (including VAT) had been spent by the Ministry of Defence on the Vaccines Interactions Research programme being undertaken by the Defence Scientific Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Porton Down. Of this, £366,152 (including VAT) was in respect of work completed on behalf of Dstl by non-Ministry of Defence bodies. MOD anticipates that at least a further £1,566,100 (including VAT) will be required to complete the Interactions research programme.

Battlefield Surveillance Capability

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when Thales Sensors enhanced battlefield surveillance capability will be operational; and if he will make a statement. [7318]

Dr. Moonie: Our battlefield surveillance capability has a number of different elements. Assuming the hon. Member's question refers to the Interim Non- Communications Electronic Support Measures system (INCE), for which Thales Sensors were recently awarded the contract, the planned in-service date is December 2002. INCE will provide land commanders with an air-portable system for rapid interception, direction finding and position fixing of opponents' transmissions, primarily targeting radar systems.

Princess Mary Hospital Site, RAF Halton

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many homes Defence Estates was seeking permission to build on the site of the Princess Mary hospital, RAF Halton, in (a) its evidence to the public inquiry into the Aylesbury Vale local plan, and (b) its recent planning application to Aylesbury Vale district council; and if he will make a statement; [15707]

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Dr. Moonie: It is the Ministry of Defence's normal practice to sell surplus property with the benefit of outline planning permission, or a development brief.

The original decision to submit a planning application for this site was made by the Defence Estates agency during 1997 in consultation with our planning consultants GVA Grimley.

In June 1997 a proposal for the development of up to 500 dwellings was submitted to the pre-deposit consultation for the Aylesbury Vale local plan. As part of our consultations for the current planning application discussions took place with Buckinghamshire county council concerning the traffic impact assessment and similarly consultations took place with Aylesbury Vale district council concerning the environmental statement which accompanies the application.

In evidence to the public inquiry into the Aylesbury Vale local plan, the Department suggested that the site might be suitable for at least 330 dwellings.

GVA Grimley represented MOD at the Aylesbury Vale local plan public inquiry. The direct costs of this amounted to some £67,500. The proof of evidence submitted on the Department's behalf at the public inquiry is available for public inspection at Aylesbury Vale district council.

I understand that the local plan in question is not expected to be adopted by the district council until November/December 2003. However, the Department is required under Government accounting rules to dispose of surplus sites as quickly as possible. So, Defence Estates authorised the current planning application (under the Department of Environment 18/84 procedure) for 480 dwellings, to facilitate marketing during 2002.

So far as liaison with the local community is concerned, the Officer Commanding the Administration Wing at RAF Halton has regular meetings with Halton parish council. The Wendover Society inspected the Princess Mary hospital site during the public inquiry into the Aylesbury Vale local plan in 2000.

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