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Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Governments policy is on a ballistic missile defence shield in Europe to provide security against Iran; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: The Government see ballistic missile defence as an important defensive capability which could contribute to the defence of the UK and our NATO Allies against potential future ballistic missile threats.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made since the Anglo-French summit of 27 March 2008 on the aspects of defence co-operation that were agreed there; and if he will make a statement. 
The Declaration of Intent for the European Carrier Group Interoperability Initiative (ECGII) has so far been signed by nine European nations, building on the Summit commitment to Carrier Group Operations. The inaugural Steering Group met in Paris on 18 March. This is a high level declaration of intent aiming to increase interoperability between countries operating aircraft carriers or with naval vessels able to support carrier operations. There is no intention to create a standing carrier group.
The UK-France helicopter Initiative that was launched at the summit continues to gather momentum. The Helicopter Fund opened by the UK to support projects aimed at delivering helicopter capability to operational theatres now stands at €26 million with contributions from 15 nations. Other nations have offered to host multi-national helicopter exercises to prepare crews for deployment, to provide training courses, to donate surplus helicopters and even to supply pilots for other nations to use on operations. More importantly, the first nation to benefit from the initiative, the Czech Republic, deploys three helicopters to Afghanistan this year. Since the summit three other nations have also made a commitment to deploy helicopters and projects launched through the Helicopter Initiative will make a substantial and essential contribution to their theatre-entry equipment upgrades
and crew training requirements. All this effort is very closely co-ordinated with NATO and EDA programmes to address the same problem.
Both nations continue to discuss NATO transformation with one another and the work to strengthen EU/NATO co-operation is continuing. The anticipated return of France to the military structures of NATO has given a new impetus to these discussions.
Ministers and officials have met and continue to meet on numerous occasions to drive forward bilateral industrial defence co-operation. Progress has been made in all the areas highlighted in the 2008 Communiqué and we continue to seek new opportunities to develop our co-operation. The High Level Working Group will be providing a report on progress to the 2009 Anglo-French summit that is due to take place later this year.
Specifically we have made good progress with Complex Weapons. We have been working to assess the scope to co-operate on a range of projects including the potential to enter into Assessment Phases to examine enhancements for Storm Shadow and the French SCALP programme and to develop an anti-surface guided weapon for use on naval helicopters.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on (a) European defence cooperation and (b) the Anglo-French defence partnership; and if he will make a statement. 
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) capital and (b) maintenance expenditure his Department has incurred on standby diesel generators for back-up electricity supply of his Department's estate in each year since March 1997. 
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which ICT projects costing more than £1 million his Department has initiated and abandoned before completion in each year since 2003-04; what costs were incurred in each project; who the main contractor for each project was; on what date each (a) commenced and (b) was abandoned; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: The UK commitment to the EU Battlegroup roster for January to July 2010 will be met by forces from the Small Scale Contingency Battlegroup element of the Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF). As this is a national high readiness contingency which is already on stand-by during the relevant period, there is no additional cost to the UK of providing an EU Battlegroup on stand-by. The Small Scale Contingency Battlegroup will consist of forces drawn from the longstanding UK-Netherlands Amphibious Landing Force. As with all NATO activities, the principle of funding for the UK-Netherlands Amphibious Landing Force is that costs lie where they fall; each nation therefore pays its own costs.
There would be additional costs to the UK were the Battlegroup to deploy. However, an EU Battlegroup is a stand-by commitment intended for emerging contingencies and it is impossible to predict at the current time whether or not it will be deployed during its stand-by period. The cost to the UK of deploying an EU Battlegroup would depend on the nature and length of any deployment.
Mr. Kevan Jones: Before 1 April 2007 all Gurkhas were discharged and retired in Nepal. From 1 April 2007 all Gurkhas have had the right to retire in the UK or Nepal and all have chosen to retire in the UK. Records are not held on where Gurkhas choose to live following their retirement from the Army, but it is estimated that some 6,000 ex-Gurkhas have settled in the UK under Home Office immigration rules introduced in 2004 and of these it is estimated that some 2,200 have retired since 1997.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1552-3W, on Iraq: peacekeeping operations, how much was paid to Harlow Specialist Life Support and Logistics for photocopier hire for use on Operation Herrick. 
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2009, Official Report, column 1150W, on nuclear weapons, how much was spent on the visits in each year; and how much was paid for by the Government in each year. 
Mr. Hutton: Information on the precise costs is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, I am able to provide the average cost of UK attendance at the Joint Working Group meetings held in the US between 2001 and 2008; costs range from an average of £4,800 per meeting in 2001 to an average of £6,000 per meeting in 2008. All these costs are either directly or indirectly incurred by the UK Government.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how the costs of co-operation with the United States on nuclear weapons technology are shared under the co-operation terms of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement; 
(2) what the (a) total combined costs and (b) costs to the Government of co-operation with the United States on nuclear weapons technology have been in each of the last 30 years under the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement. 
Mr. Hutton: Co-operation on experiments and trials conducted under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement, are generally undertaken on a costs lie where they fall basis. There are some exceptions to this, such as material and equipment procured to support national requirements or under bartering arrangements. The UK has also contributed to the funding of collaborative trials in the US which support the UK's strategic weapon programme.
Additionally, having judged it cost-effective to do so, MOD has recently entered into a collaborative arrangement which requires the UK to contribute financially to activities at the US National Ignition Facility (NIF) that support the UK programme. This extends the previously announced investment at the NIF to $64 million.
Neither the total combined costs, nor costs to the UK of our collaboration with the United States under the Mutual Defence Agreement are readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Interim Storage of Laid-Up Submarines Group will commence its programme of dismantling the UKs defuelled nuclear powered submarines. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: No decisions on the dismantling programme will be made until completion of a Strategic Environmental Assessment and public consultation. It is the intention to make an announcement regarding the programme in 2010.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in meeting the 2010 date for a storage solution for the nuclear waste from the seven UK nuclear vessels at Rosyth Dockyard. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: We intend to make an announcement in 2010 regarding the proposed locations for submarine dismantling and the interim storage of the resultant nuclear waste. This is dependent on a number of factors, particularly the completion of a strategic environmental assessment later this year, and the intention to carry out further public consultation before any decisions are made. Good progress is being made towards this goal.
Mr. Quentin Davies: We do not intend to move any defuelled submarines until the completion of the strategic environmental assessment, public consultation and departmental approval of the dismantling solution.
Mr. Quentin Davies: The next UK submarine due to be taken out of service is HMS Trafalgar, scheduled for later this year. We currently intend to store HMS Trafalgar at Devonport Royal Dockyard until she has been defuelled. Its subsequent storage location will depend on the dismantling programme that is being developed.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effects on the environment of moving the seven decommissioned British nuclear powered submarines from the Rosyth Dockyard. 
The existing Interim Storage of Laid-Up Submarines (ISOLUS) Project Environmental Impact Assessment includes consideration of transportation matters. It is our intention to make this document available publicly in the near future.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was discussed at the seventh meeting of the Interim Storage of Laid-Up Submarines Group on
Wednesday 11 March 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The Interim Storage of Laid-Up Submarines (ISOLUS) Advisory Group is an independently chaired group that provides independent assessment of proposals and outcomes. It also acts in a scrutiny and advisory role to the Ministry of Defence ISOLUS Steering Group.
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