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31. Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many applications for the ex gratia payment to former prisoners of the Japanese announced on 7 November 2000 have been (a) accepted, (b) rejected and (c) remain to be determined. 
We also have a small team of armed forces personnel in Islamabad where, along with United States colleagues, they are liaising with aid agencies, as well as other personnel in the United States who are assisting with the planning and co-ordination of the coalition humanitarian effort.
In addition, the Canberra PR9 reconnaissance aircraft which we have deployed to the region can assist in the targeting of humanitarian assistance by identifying concentrations of displaced persons. We will, of course, consider making other assets available as necessary.
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Mr. Hoon: The EU and NATO have been working closely together on the development of the European Security and Defence Policy. NATO has assisted in the analysis of capability requirements and has been involved in the assessment of national offers towards the pool of forces.
The EU's Political and Security Committee (PSC) and NATO's North Atlantic Council (NAC), as well as the EU's and NATO's respective Military Committees, meet on a regular basis and at least once per Presidency. Further meetings may be requested.
NATO has agreed in principle to allow the EU access to its assets and capabilities and we are discussing the details of the arrangements. An EU-NATO security agreement is also being established to allow the exchange of classified information between NATO and the EU.
Dr. Moonie: As at 1 April this year, the total strength of the cadet forces was 128,304. Although this represents a decrease of 3,650, or 2.8 per cent., since April 2000, cadet numbers have been relatively stable over recent years. The cadet forces continue to offer a wide range of military, adventurous and sporting activities, and the opportunity to gain nationally recognised qualifications as well as enhance personal development. We strongly encourage young people and adult volunteers to join and the Services will continue to offer practical support for the cadet forces' recruitment activities wherever possible.
Mr. Ingram: Apart from an increase in the number of inquiries about armed forces careers, there have been no discernible changes to the rates of recruitment or retention which might normally be expected at this point in the year.
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Dr. Moonie: The number of hours booked for military low flying in the UK Low Flying System is monitored throughout the training year from April to March. As part of the monitoring process, the RAF police carry out regular covert surveys of military low flying, often assisted by the deployment of a Skyguard radar system which measures accurately the heights and speeds of aircraft. These checks confirm a healthy respect for the regulations. A copy of the statement on the pattern of military low flying for the training year to March 2001 was placed in the Library of the House on 17 July.
Mr. Hoon: NATO's Defence Capabilities Initiative was launched at the Washington Summit in April 1999 with a view to addressing shortfalls in military capabilities across the Alliance. Since then NATO nations have been working hard to implement the initiative. Progress has been made in many capability areas, including air to air refuelling; air and sealift and precision-guided munitions. The UK's own performance within the Defence Capabilities Initiative compares very well with the Alliance average.
Polarised thermal imaging
Ultra wide-band radar
The Ministry of Defence and QuinetiQ have also developed a pyrotechnic torch for destroying anti- personnel and anti-tank mines with minimal collateral damage and improved safety of deployment. Current procurement action for this system is aimed at delivering 2000 units into military service by early 2002.
The Defence Procurement Agency placed contracts in October with Ultra Electronics Ltd. of High Wycombe, Bucks and Hunting Engineering Ltd. (now Insys Ltd.) of Ampthill, Bedfordshire for the Competitive Assessment Phase of the Mine Detection, Neutralisation and Route Marking System (MINDER) Programme, with an initial capability to enter service by 2005.
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Progress has also been made to improve the effectiveness of minefield breaching operations, and techniques have been developed to improve ploughing efficiency and survivability. Investigations into individual mine neutralisation are also taking place.
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence has not produced a formal estimate of the current contribution made by RAF Lyneham to the local economy. As I announced on 22 November 2001, Official Report, column 367W, a study has been commissioned as part of the Department's normal planning process, to consider the future roles of RAF Lyneham, RAF Brize Norton and RAF St. Mawgan and an economic appraisal of all three sites will be conducted as part of this work. It is understood that previous local estimates have placed the contribution to the local economy in the region of £18 million a year and this figure will be validated as part of the study.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many planes are based at (a) RAF Brize Norton and (b) RAF Lyneham; and how this total will change in the next five years to reflect (i) the introduction of the A400M and the C130J and (ii) the phasing out of the VC10 and Tristar. 
Mr. Ingram: There are currently 33 aircraft based at RAF Brize Norton and 54 aircraft based at RAF Lyneham. On current plans, three Hercules C130K aircraft based at RAF Lyneham will be retired within the next five years in the last element of the rolling programme to replace part of the Hercules C130K fleet with C130Js. No other changes in aircraft numbers at RAF Lyneham and RAF Brize Norton are currently planned in the next five years as a result of the procurement of the A400M and C130J or the phasing out of the VC10 and Tristars.
Dr. Moonie: As at 20 November 2001 there were (a) 31 rooms vacant in Officers' Mess accommodation out of a total of 183 and (b) four rooms vacant in the other ranks single living accommodation out of a total of 1,289. All 31 rooms vacant in the Officers' Mess are out of use as a result of repair work currently being carried out in one wing of the mess.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what square footage of (a) hangers for aircraft maintenance and repairs and (b) apron parking there is at (i) RAF Lyneham and (ii) RAF Brize Norton; and what the total acreage is of each base. 
Mr. Ingram: Hangars used for aircraft maintenance and repairs cover approximately 27,500 square metres at RAF Lyneham and approximately 19,970 square metres at RAF Brize Norton. The area of apron parking is approximately 270,000 square metres at RAF Lyneham
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and 470,000 square metres at RAF Brize Norton. RAF Lyneham covers approximately 1,164 acres and RAF Brize Norton approximately 1,184 acres.
Dr. Moonie: As at 20 November 2001, there were 112 officers and 861 other ranks living in single living accommodation at RAF Lyneham. On the same date 152 officers and 1,275 other ranks were living in single living accommodation at RAF Brize Norton.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many married quarters' houses there are at (a) RAF Lyneham and (b) RAF Brize Norton; and how many married quarters houses at RAF Brize Norton are unoccupied. 
Dr. Moonie: There are 764 service families' accommodation at RAF Lyneham and 1,286 at RAF Brize Norton. 241 properties at Brize Norton are unoccupied although they are shortly to be handed back to Annington Homes. 68 are being refurbished or awaiting major repairs and 23 have been allocated to service families.
Mr. Ingram: The length of the main runway available for take off or landing at RAF Lyneham is 2,386 metres. The length of the secondary runway is 1,826 metres. The runway at RAF Brize Norton available for take off and landing is 3,050 metres long.
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