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15 Oct 2002 : Column 544Wcontinued
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the extent of US military assistance by forces resident in the UK to civilians in respect of (a) civil emergencies and (b) exchange and familiarisation of personnel. 
Mr. Ingram: There is no formal arrangement for United States Visiting Forces (USVF) to assist United Kingdom civil authorities in respect of civil emergencies or for the exchange and familiarisation of personnel. The USVF do however respond positively to specific requests for assistance by United Kingdom civil authorities, in particular in respect of search and rescue operations.
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Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence arranged and took part in a specialist Reconnaissance Survey on Kiritimati during September 1998 to identify the types and quantities of waste materials, including an assessment of environmental risks, arising from the island's use as a base for the United Kingdom's nuclear test programme in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The clean-up of the waste material is to be undertaken by Contractors appointed and managed by specialists in the MOD. Preparatory work is currently underway with the actual clean-up work on site expected to start in 2003.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the impact of his Department's policy on radar coverage and low flying upon the Government's policy to expand wind energy technology; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: Ministry of Defence officials are currently involved in a steering group with the Department of Trade and Industry, Civil Aviation Authority, National Air Traffic Services and the British Wind Energy Association. The group aims to address some of the issues that lead to the MOD and others making objections to developers' proposals. The MOD is currently assisting in a DTI-sponsored project by QinetiQ to study the effects of turbines on radar.
The MOD is acutely aware of the government's stated aim to achieve 10 per cent. of the United Kingdom's energy from green sources by 2010 and makes every effort to assist in achieving this. However, the Government is also committed to maintaining flight safety and the operational effectiveness of the Armed Forces.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he objects to windfarms only if they interfere with the operation of RAF aircraft; and whether other nations are consulted prior to entering an objection to a windfarm. 
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence deal with every wind energy proposal individually and all are given a full and thorough appraisal by at least seven separate Technical Advisors each with their own specialism including Radar, Low Flying, Communication Links and Met Office Radar. Other nations are not involved in the process of windfarm appraisal.
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Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about his Department's plans for use and development of nuclear energy facilities; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: Plutonium is the only fissile material produced in reactors. In April 1995 the then Foreign Secretary announced that the United Kingdom had ceased the production of fissile material for explosive purposes. Ministry of Defence has sufficient stocks of plutonium (as announced in SDR) to meet foreseeable needs. The UK supports the need for a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty which would ban the production of fissile material for explosive purposes. Chapelcross MAGNOX reactors currently produce tritium for the national nuclear deterrent. BNFL has announced its decision to close Chapelcross by March 2005. Sufficient stocks of tritium are held to meet the needs of the Trident programme. Any decision on a replacement source of tritium, should one be required, will not need to be taken for many years.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people in receipt of war disablement pensions were (a) receiving income support, (b) over retirement age and (c) in full-time employment in each of the last five years. 
Dr. Moonie: The Veterans Agency administers the war pensions scheme. It does not retain statistical information relating to receipt of other benefits such as income support, or to the employment status of war disablement pensioners.
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The MOD has been represented by Counsel when invited to do so by the Tribunal to give assistance on specific matters. In addition, officials from the MOD have maintained a near-permanent presence at the hearings.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) who was responsible for the storage of photographs held by the Army legal team at the Widgery Inquiry; in what conditions and where these photographs were stored; when they will be produced for the Saville Inquiry; and what further photographs of Bloody Sunday are available; 
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence has provided the Bloody Sunday Inquiry with written statements on the subjects of photographs and film, and an official of this Department will give evidence to the Inquiry in the near future.
It would therefore be inappropriate to comment separately on these matters, and I am withholding the information requested in accordance with Exemption 4 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) service personnel broken down by regiment and (b) other members of his staff have visited Colombia; what the purpose was of each visit; and what assistance he has provided the Colombian Government in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Ingram: We do from time to time send military liaison teams to Colombia to provide advice and training assistance. The nature of this advice and assistance is confidential between governments and I am withholding the details under Exemption 1 of the code of practice on Access to Government Information, which covers information whose disclosure would be harmful to national security, defence or international relations.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the rules are governing the consumption of alcohol and tobacco (a) on military premises, (b) in administration areas and (c) on operational duties. 
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Queen's Regulations, administrative instructions and policy guidance lay down general principles for the control and consumption of alcohol. Commanding officers are required to ensure that they have clear and effective local orders concerning alcohol and that these are enforced. These cover messes, bars, clubs and single living accommodation. Particular attention is given to the law relating to young people and the legal age for consuming alcohol. Specific single-Service directions are issued concerning fitness for duty, especially for safety critical posts and other designated tasks such as flying, driving and the carrying of arms.
Instructions and guidance on tobacco consumption mainly relate to health and safety, including restrictions on smoking in the workplace and in messes and accommodation areas and of course in the vicinity of military equipment and flammable substances.
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