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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many nuclear facilities, storage areas, fixed equipment and reactors (a) have been in the last 30 years and (b) are planned to be decommissioned by his Department; and in each case, what the cost was. 
Dr. Moonie: Data on how many nuclear facilities, storage areas, fixed equipment and reactors decommissioned over the past 30 years within the Ministry of Defence is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, expenditure from 199798 was provided to my hon. Friend on 5 March 2002, Official Report, columns 16263W.
As at 31 March 2001 (the latest available published figures), the MOD's nuclear liabilities amounted to £3,574,809,000 (representing the liabilities discounted at 6 per cent. and expressed in 200001 money values) or £16,039,639,000 (undiscounted). A more detailed breakdown is not available in the form requested.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what support his Department is giving to the organisers of the Farnborough Airshow taking place in July; and if his Department is providing assistance to enable overseas visitors to attend it. 
Dr. Moonie: In support of the Government's commitment to a strong United Kingdom defence industry, the Ministry of Defence undertakes a broad range of activities in support of The Society of British Aerospace Companies organisation of this prestigious show to help ensure its continued position as the world's premier business aerospace exhibition. Normal marketing support to United Kingdom exhibitors is provided by the Defence Export Services Organisation, and other assistance includes helping the organisers ensure the maximum exposure of United Kingdom products to potential customers by supporting official inward visits.
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Phase 1 of the review, announced on 9 May 2001, was headed by Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, then Deputy CINCFleet. A steering group directed the work of the review team. It had an independent chairperson and comprised representatives of the Royal Navy, the UKHO, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Meteorological Office, HM Treasury, Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Defence's business improvement team.
Evidence was taken from a wide range of stakeholders and customers, including the Royal Navy, commercial customers, other Government Departments, port authorities and other hydrographic offices, as well as from staff.
Phase 1 of the review recommends that the UKHO should seek to maintain its position as the leading hydrographic office internationally, and should focus on meeting UK defence and Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) obligations. It should continue as a trading fund for the immediate future, but its future status needs to ensure that it is best placed to maintain its self-financing structure in the digital era. While the strong national interest of the UKHO's work is deemed consistent with continued Government ownership and responsibility, the UKHO is encouraged to seek partnerships with the private sector to help it to better exploit both current and new wider markets.
I have accepted the Phase 1 report, in particular the recommendation that the UKHO should aim in the medium term to convert to a wholly owned, Government- owned, company if certain conditions relating to its future role in the digital era are met. Accordingly, I have asked the chief executive to report to the Hydrographic Office Ministerial Advisory Board in two years time, to allow the board to review progress towards viability as a Government-owned company in the digital era, covering both income and cost base, and the protection of data supply. I have placed copies of a summary of the report in the Library of the House.
Phase 2 of the Quinquennial Review will cover the implementation of the recommendations of Phase 1, and review efficiency measures. It will also cover the strategy for addressing the requirements of other Government Departments, and governance and scrutiny issues.
Mr. Hoon: The work to date on the New Chapter to the Strategic Defence Review indicates that there is scope for an additional role for the reserves in home defence and security tasks, which would draw on their strengths and skills in the response to a crisis and which the reserves would themselves welcome. To explain our concept and to seek views upon it, the Ministry of Defence has today issued a discussion document entitled "The Role of the Reserves in Home Defence and Security". Copies of the document have been placed in the Library of the House. It makes proposals for providing a significant
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enhancement to the support which the Department and armed forces can provide to the civil authorities in such circumstances in three areas:
by formalising the role of 2 Signals Brigade, and its predominantly Territorial Army subordinate units, in supporting those personnel deploying in response to a crisis, and enhancing its communications equipment accordingly;
by using reserve personnel to improve our contingency planning, and the machinery by which the civil authorities can gain access to support from the armed forces in a crisis.
Dr. Moonie: The agency was originally launched as the Disposal Sales Agency in October 1994, and was re-launched in November 2000 as the Disposal Services Agency. The agency provides much more than a sales function for surplus Ministry of Defence equipment and stores. It provides a total disposal solution by acting as a broker and adding value through expert advice across the public sector. The agency is therefore operating very much in line with the Government's aim of more joined-up delivery.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the major transport investment projects that have been given final go-ahead by his Department since 7 June 2001. 
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Extensions to the Heathrow Express and the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Airport Terminal Five
Oldham Retaining Walls
A689 Sedgefield to Wynyard improvements (Durham)
Barnsley Coalfields Link Road Phases 2 and 3
A2 Bean-Cobham Widening Phase 1.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what legal powers he will hold to require Network Rail to change the nature of the use of sub-contractors for network maintenance. 
The management of maintenance contracts would be a matter for Network Rail, if it succeeds Railtrack as network operator. The guidelines issued by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 31 October 2001 specify that bidders should demonstrate proposals for focused and effective contract management. Network Rail has said it plans to improve relations with maintenance organisations through longer contracts, better alignment of incentives and by awarding contracts on the basis of best value assessmentsnot necessarily the lowest price.
Mr. Darling: As the Government announced in October 2001, they have been considering whether the railways regulatory framework continues to be fit for purpose given the changing circumstances faced by the UK rail industry. The Government's considerations have been guided by a number of key overarching principles:
Ensuring that public expenditure on the railways delivers the Government's objectives and achieves value for money;
Ensuring that the level of public expenditure on the railways respects and reflects the Government's overall spending priorities, including the 10 Year Plan;
Keeping the burden of regulation to the minimum level necessary; and
Ensuring a stable, well led industry with clarity of roles.
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and electricity industries (Utilities Act 2000) and postal services (Postal Services Act 2000) and is in the course of being done for the Office of Fair Trading (Enterprise Bill) and the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors (Communications Bill).
The regulator's duties include requirements to have regard to the SRA's strategies and budget. In view of the importance the Government attach to continued close working between the SRA and the regulator on these matters, I intend to issue directions to the SRA and guidance to the regulator on how I expect these requirements to be reflected in any future review of the network operator's revenue requirements.
The Government will need to continue to keep the effectiveness of the regime under review as the rail sector develops. The implementation of EU Directives already requires the Government to review the regulatory framework and adjust it in accordance with the Directives as necessary (the implementation of the First Railway Package of Directives is due by March 2003).
In making any further changes to the regulatory regime, the Government will continue to have regard to all of the principles set out above, treating the first one on independent economic regulation as an essential continuing requirement. Should the Government conclude that any change is required, they would consult key stakeholders on proposals in the normal way before bringing forward appropriate legislation.
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