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Committee on Standards in Public Life

Mr. Neil Turner: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if the Government plan to submit written evidence to the Committee on Standards in Public Life as a part of its inquiry defining the boundaries within the Executive. [66804]

Mr. Alexander: The Government have today submitted written evidence to the Committee on Standards in Public Life as part of its inquiry into 'Defining the Boundaries within the Executive'. Copies of the submission have been placed in the Libraries of the House.


Ministerial Meetings (NATO)

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he last met the Secretary-General of NATO; and if he will make a statement. [62185]

Mr. Hoon: I met Lord Robertson on 6–7 June at the NATO Defence Ministers Meeting in Brussels.

The meeting was an important step in the Alliance's preparation for the NATO Prague Summit in November. Alliance Defence Ministers agreed on the need to: improve capabilities, including defence against the threat of terrorism; enlarge in a way that enhances collective security; build on the new security relationship with Russia; develop a more substantive relationship with partners; and adapt to modernise NATO's structures and processes.

Gulf War Syndrome

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department recognises Gulf War Syndrome as a medical condition; and if he will make a statement. [60333]

Mr. Ingram: [holding answer 13 June 2002]: My Department does not recognise "Gulf War Syndrome" as a medical condition. It accepts that some veterans of the 1990–91 Gulf conflict have become ill and that many attribute this ill health to their Gulf experience. A large number of multi-system, multi-organ, non-specific, medically unexplained symptoms have been reported by

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some Gulf veterans as well as recognised medical conditions. The overwhelming consensus of the scientific and medical community is that there is insufficient evidence to enable this ill-health to be characterised as a unique illness or "syndrome".

Military Sites (Wales)

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will provide a list of active military sites in Wales. [63196]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence has the following active military establishments in Wales. The list excludes housing and Territorial Army and Cadet sites not owned by MOD.

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Aberport Main Site, Pendine and Llanbedr are all operated by QinetiQ on behalf of MOD which retains ownership. There are a number of minor observation posts of insignificant size associated with these operations.

In addition, there are various radio masts.

Kenley Airfield

Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he plans to change the use of Kenley airfield, Croydon; and if he will make a statement. [63684]

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Mr. Ingram: Kenley airfield is currently used by the Air Cadets Voluntary Gliding School. There are no plans to change this usage for the foreseeable future.


Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons flight data and cockpit voice recorders were not fitted to the RAF Chinook HC2 fleet upon its entry into service. [64561]

Mr. Ingram: The Chinook was introduced into RAF service in 1980 at a time when it was not the Ministry of Defence's policy to install flight data recorders into military aircraft. Since then the policy has changed and such equipment is now installed in all new aircraft.

The decision on retrofitting existing aircraft is considered carefully against a number of factors, such as the type's remaining in-service life, flight safety record, cost and operational considerations. As a result of such considerations, a decision was taken (before the Mull of Kintyre accident) to install an accident data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder, as part of the helicopter health and usage monitoring system modification. This modification has now been installed in the entire in-service Chinook fleet.

Asymmetric Surface Threats

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Department's work to increase the protection for Royal Navy warships against asymmetric surface threats operating in the littoral; what trials his Department has conducted to evaluate current and future warship weaponry against such threats; and when such trials were begun. [64809]

Mr. Ingram: It is not our policy to comment on the specific details of measures taken to protect fleet units against asymmetric attack, and 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. The Royal Navy keeps tactics and measures in this area under constant review. Trials and training are conducted on a regular basis.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of the UK military commitment to the Balkans. [64813]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 13 June 2002, Official Report, columns 1343–44, to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer).

Discussions are continuing on how we will adjust our troop contributions in light of the Joint Operational Area Review.

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