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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 24 July 2002


Death in Custody

Laura Moffatt: To ask the Solicitor-General when the Attorney-General will announce the outcome of the review of the role and practices of the Crown Prosecution Service in cases arising from a death in custody. [73440]

The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General hopes to make an announcement around the end of September. He had hoped to do so before Parliament rose this month, but because of the thought provoking contributions that have been made, and because he wishes to examine aspects of the handling of a trial which ended in acquittal earlier this month, he has decided to extend the period of the review. He is grateful to all those who have so far responded to the consultation paper or contributed their views in other ways.



Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list, by aircraft type, the RAF's (a) requirement, (b) actual operating fleet and (c) the total number of aircraft of each type owned and leased by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [52132]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 25 June 2002]: The information requested is set out in the table. The figures provided in the table are a snapshot of the situation as at 3 May 2002.

The Required Operating Fleet is the total number of aircraft needed to undertake the defined military task, the Actual Operating Fleet is the total number of aircraft available to undertake the defined military task and the Departmental Fleet is the total number of aircraft.

MOD owned aircraft

Aircraft typeRequired operating fleet (ROF)Actual operating fleetDepartmental fleet
BAe 125 ccMk3566
BAe 146 ccMk2223
Canberra PR9435
Canberra T4124
Harrier GR7515474
Harrier T109812
Sea Harrier FA2262849
Harrier T8447
Hercules C-120J252325
Hercules C-130K252534
Jaguar GR1a/3/3a394393
Jaguar T2a/T4719
Jetstream TMk91111
Nimrod MR2202021
Nimrod R1323
Sentry E-3D AEW Mk1667
Tornado F39390135
Tornado GR112112168
Tucano Mk17171126
VC10 191922
Rotary wing aircraft
Sea King Mk3/3a232525
Contractor owned aircraft

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The RAF also operates the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which comprises 10 fixed wing aircraft. The breakdown of this figure by aircraft type and number is detailed in the table.

Aircraft type
Lancaster B1111

Suez Medal

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Honours and Decorations Committee re-opened the case to consider awarding a 1951–54 Suez Canal Campaign Medal; who requested that the matter be reviewed; and when he expects a decision to be made. [61264]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave on 17 June 2002, Official Report, column 43W to my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Waveney (Mr. Blizzard).

The Government considers it important to respect the principle that where there is a clear, demonstrable decision taken within five years of a campaign that a General Service Medal should not be awarded, that decision should not be reopened.

The evidence relating to consideration of a General Service Medal for the Suez Canal Zone is however less clear-cut. A number of representations.

In view of these exceptional circumstances, the Government is setting up a small sub-committee of HD Committee under the chairmanship of General Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank to report on the case for an exceptional award of a General Service Medal for the Suez Canal Zone without creating wider precedent or breaching longstanding principles which underpin the making of such awards.

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International Criminal Court

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the UK Government's policy towards the surrender of UK nationals where accused of a crime in connection with a UN peacekeeping or enforcement operation committed after 1 July upon request of the International Criminal Court. [66479]

Mr. Hoon: Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), investigation and, if necessary, prosecution of any allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide by United Kingdom nationals would be carried out by the UK. The purpose of the ICC is to bring to justice those who commit these crimes and to act as a deterrent against their being committed. The UK strongly supports the ICC and these aims. The ICC will intervene only when it determines that a state is unwilling or unable to pursue a particular case, but it is inconceivable that this would ever apply to the UK. We do not, therefore, envisage that the UK would ever be required to surrender its nationals to the ICC.

RAF Chilmark

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the closure of RAF Chilmark was announced; what was the (a) planned date and (b) actual date of closure; what was the (i) estimated and (ii) actual date of disposal; what was the (A) estimated and (B) actual sale value of the site ; what was the (1) estimated and (2) actual cost of remediation; who calculated the estimated sale value of the site and on what basis; what the (x) estimated and (y) actual annual running costs of the site were between closure and disposal; and what the annual costs have been of decontamination work since the announcement of closure. [68927]

Dr. Moonie: The closure of RAF Chilmark was formally announced in September 1992, with a planned closure date of April 1995. The site closed on 1 April 1995.

RAF Chilmark originally comprised separate sites at Dinton and Chilmark. Sales of the various parts were planned to follow clearance of explosive ordnance devices and any necessary decontamination, although it was accepted that final clearance of the entire site could take a considerable time.

The first major sale was completed in July 1995, with seven further sales since. Chilmark HQ site and land at Ladydown are the only parts remaining unsold.

No formal estimate was made of overall sale receipts, since at the time of closure, no firm estimation could be made as to the eventual timetable for sale.

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Receipts from those parts sold since closure total approximately £1.5 million.

No formal figure was prepared prior to the results of the Land Quality Assessments and prior to the introduction of more refined investigatory equipment.

The cost over the first five years since closure of clearing explosive ordnance has been in the region of £1.7 million. A further £371,000 has been spent on preparation of Land Quality Assessments and remediation. Later figures have not yet been compiled.

The values of those parts already sold have been assessed either by consultants to the Ministry of Defence or by the District Valuer. All sales have been at not less than open market value.

The total of the actual holding costs of the site from closure in 1995 to 31 March 2002, excluding remediation works but including the cost of security guarding, is in the region of £1.9 million (excluding VAT). Estimated costs are prepared on an annual basis, and have proved to be very close to the actual costs.

The future cost of any necessary decontamination of the remaining parts at Chilmark HQ site and Ladydown cannot be assessed until clearance of explosive ordnance is complete.

Nuclear Arsenal

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was of maintaining Britain's nuclear arsenal in each of the last five years; and what the projected annual cost of maintaining the nuclear arsenal is in each of the next five years. [71007]

Mr. Hoon: The cost of maintaining Britain's nuclear weapons has been about 1 per cent. of the total annual defence budget and is expected to remain at around that level for each of the next five years.


Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the public consultations undertaken by his Department since 1997, indicating for each consultation (a) if copies were available online, (b) if copies were available in print, (c) the date the time period given for responses opened and (d) the date the time period given for responses closed. [69797]

Dr. Moonie: The Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Written Consultation applies to all formal national public consultation documents issued by departments from 1 January 2001 and the information requested is not available before that date. Since that date, all formal consultation documents have been published on-line and either immediately made available in print or made available in print on request. Details are as follows:

Public consultations IssuedResponses required by
The Future of the Defence Diversification AgencyMid February 200123 March 2001
The Military Maritime Graves and the Protection of Military Remains Act 198614 February 200114 May 2001
Proposed introduction of the Voluntary Screening Programme following Health concerns in respect of Depleted Uranium13 February 20019 March 2001
Armed Forces Pension Scheme Review1 March 200131 July 2001
Joint Compensation review1 March 200131 July 2001
Second Consultative Document on the introduction of a Voluntary Screening Programme for Depleted Uranium11 April 20014 July 2001
Ministry of Defence Police Quinquennial Review26 April 2001Within six months

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Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has a designated consultation co-ordinator in accordance with the Cabinet Office code of practice on written consultations. [70989]

Dr. Moonie: Yes.

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many consultation documents published in 2001 in (a) electronic or (b) printed form his Department has monitored and evaluated in accordance with the Cabinet Office code of practice on written consultations. [70986]

Dr. Moonie: For two of the consultations it is too early in the process for meaningful evaluation. The remainder have not yet been monitored and evaluated in accordance with the Cabinet Office Code of Practice.

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