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Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what quantities of chemical weapons are stored in the UK; whether Agent Orange has ever been (a) stored in the UK and (b) used by UK forces; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The United Kingdom gave up its offensive chemical weapons programmes in 1956. No chemical weapons are stored in the United Kingdom. However, from time to time old chemical weapons from the Second World War, and before, are recovered. These are taken to Dstl Porton Down where they are declared to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and then destroyed in accordance with our obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.
(3) which United Kingdom naval vessels are being considered for breaking up; 
(4) what criteria are used to determine where work to break up United Kingdom naval vessels is carried out. 
Mr. Ingram: When declared surplus to requirements, named RN ships are sold via the Ministry of Defence's Disposal Services Agency (DSA). The DSA actively promotes sales on a Government-to-Government basis
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but, if a buyer cannot be found, vessels may be sold by means of a competitive tender exercise and bidders may include parties interested in scrapping the vessels. Of all the vessels sold over the past five years, the following (including Royal Fleet Auxiliaries) were sold for breaking:
|Financial year||Scrapped in:|
When disposing of surplus vessels, the Government's policy is to comply with all national and international environmental legislation (including the Basel Convention) while ensuring the maximum return for the taxpayer.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the Defence Fire Service stations located in Scotland; how many (a) civilian personnel and (b) service personnel are employed at each; how many have been employed at each in each year since 1997; what the personnel costs were for (i) each of the stations, (ii) the DFS in Scotland and (iii) the DFS in total in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The Defence Fire Service stations located in Scotland are completely manned by civilian personnel. The locations and numbers employed at each station since 199798 are shown in the following table.
|Numbers of Personnel|
Mr. Caplin: The formation of the Depleted Uranium Oversight Board (DUOB) was announced by the then Under-Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy (Dr. Moonie) on 26 September 2001. The first meeting took place on 27 September 2001. Details of the Oversight Board including all minutes to meetings since September 2001 can be found on its website at www.duob.org.uk.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what health and safety guidance is given to Service men and women in relation to their work where areas may be contaminated with depleted uranium; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Caplin: As required by the United Kingdom health and safety legislation, specific instructions are prepared for each operation or situation in which MOD Service or civilian personnel may encounter depleted
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uranium contamination. The instructions issued for the recent deployment to Iraq (Operation Telic) are on the Department's website at: www.mod.uk/issues/depleted uranium/gulf safety instructions.htm
Mr. Ingram: All of these equipment projects are due to come into service on an incremental basis in the period from 2004 to the end of the decade. Our first priority is to ensure that the currently planned capability (including planned upgrades where appropriate) is brought into service on time and to cost. We keep all our equipment capability requirements under review and will consider making further investment in, and upgrades to, these assets if that were the best way of meeting our future capability requirements. For Skynet 5, where we have contracted for service provision for a period of 15 years under PFI arrangements, the contractor will need to invest to meet his service obligations and is incentivised to provide technology refresh during the course of the contract.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether it is the policy of his Department to use fair trade products, as a matter of course, in (a) sales on Departmental premises and (b) receptions and meetings involving staff and visitors. 
Mr. Ingram: The Government are committed to supporting ethical trading wherever possible, and provide support to the Fair Trade Foundation's efforts in promoting the supply and marketing of Fairtrade products, but does not provide specific advice on this issue to departments. The Ministry of Defence does not have a specific policy related to the use of these products.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the plan to procure future rapid effects systems, with particular reference to (a) costs, (b) efficiency and (c) potential for storage. 
Mr. Ingram: The future Rapid Effects System project is currently in the Concept Phase. The Department is considering how best to take forward the requirement and will have regard to all relevant factors in determining the future direction of the programme.
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Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on (a) the availability and (b) the value for money of spare parts for RAF GR7 and GR9 Harriers compared with Sea Harriers. 
Mr. Ingram: The maintenance and repair of the Sea Harrier is undertaken at a variety of locations: operating units (first and second line); the Defence Aviation Repair Agency (third line); and a number of aerospace companies in the United Kingdom (fourth line). Maintenance work falls into a number of categories, some is preventative or routine, other work is based around fault diagnosis and rectification. The wide range of information is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much he estimates it would cost to adapt the planned RAF GR7 and GR9 Harriers to accommodate (a) air-to-air radar and (b) the beyond visual range advanced medium range missile system. 
Mr. Ingram: There are no plans to further enhance the air defence capability of the RAF's Harrier GR7/9 fleet. However, it is estimated that the cost of fitting air to air radar and the beyond visual range advanced medium missile system to these aircraft would be in excess of £600 million.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to provide RAF GR7 and GR9 Harriers with further air defence capabilities in addition to the provision of Sidewinder missiles. 
Mr. Ingram: When the Harrier GR7 fleet is upgraded to GR9 standard it will be optimised for the offensive support role rather than air defence. Harriers will continue to carry the very capable Sidewinder AIM 9-L missile, but we currently have no further plans to enhance the air defence capabilities of the GR7 or GR9 Harriers.
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