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Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the volume of waste to be removed from land at RAF Portreath as part of the Ministry of Defence's clean-up operation; what guidance has been issued to local authorities and agencies responsible for the removal and disposal of waste from RAF Portreath; at which locations waste from RAF Portreath will be deposited; and what assurances he has
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given local residents and local authorities regarding the disposal of waste removed from RAF Portreath in landfill. 
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence is currently undertaking the planning process for the voluntary remediation of five dump sites at RAF Portreath. For these purposes it is estimated that the total waste from all five dumps is approximately 100,000 cu m of material, which is likely to be a mix of inert, hazardous and special waste.
Mr. Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the British armed forces have (a) procured and (b) deployed the E100 Series Integrated Grenade System with the fragmentation grenade E105 incorporated into the trip wire mechanism manufactured by PW Defence. 
Mr. Ingram: The British armed forces have never procured or deployed the E100 Series Integrated Grenade System with the fragmentation grenade E105 incorporated into the trip wire mechanism manufactured by PW Defence.
Mr. Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions have taken place between his officials and PW Defence regarding the status of the E100 Series Integrated Grenade System and fragmentation grenade E105 incorporated into the trip wire mechanism under the Landmines Act 1998. 
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence has not had any discussions with PW Defence regarding the status of the E100 Series Integrated Grenade System and fragmentation grenade E105 incorporated into the trip wire mechanism under the Landmines Act 1998.
Mr. Ingram: Decisions taken in respect of the United Kingdom Low Flying System are already subject to appropriate review. Such reviews may include investigations by the Defence Flying Complaints Investigation Team, consultation across Ministry of Defence and reference to external specialists as necessary.
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 16 May 2002]: The First of Class, HMS Daring, is planned to enter service in late 2007, with the second ship, HMS Dauntless following in 2009. It is planned that the remaining four ships on contract will enter service at intervals up until 2011.
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Mr. Ingram: The BAE Systems unsolicited proposal was very carefully considered. However, it was decided not to take it further because of the serious implications it would have for competition downstream for future United Kingdom warships and the very substantial forward commitment it sought on a variety of shipbuilding programmes. The revised type 45 procurement strategy, announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 10 July 2001, should offer better value for money in the longer run, if it enables competition to be pursued on other warship programmes.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many sites in the UK are capable of assembling a large enough vessel to operate conventional take-off and landing aircraft; what modifications are needed to potential sites to bring them to this capability; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: It is assumed that the question refers to potential sites for the assembly of the United Kingdom's future aircraft carrier. The competing primes on the carrier programmeBAE Systems and Thalesare assessing the capability of a number of sites within the United Kingdom that have the potential to participate in the build (the construction and outfitting of modules or blocks of the vessel) and assembly (the joining together of the blocks into a whole ship in a dry dock of sufficient size). No final decisions have been made on the mix of sites that will be utilised in the ship build programme. A number of potential facilities for assembly have been identified to date, including Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Inch Green on the Clyde, and Swan Hunter on Tyneside. Other potential assembly sites continue to be assessed and much will depend on the design and dimensions of the carrier that is eventually taken forward and the method of construction. The two prime contractors are due to submit proposals on ship procurement towards the end of this year. This will include preferred assembly sites together with an assessment of any required modifications.
Mr. Ingram: Pursuant to my reply to the hon. Member on 16 July 2001, Official Report, columns 12W, RAND have completed their study into alternative procurement strategies for the Ministry of Defence's future warship programme. Interim results from the study helped inform the MOD's decision to proceed with a revised procurement strategy for the type 45 destroyer, as announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 10 July 2001, Official Report, columns 67585.
It was originally planned that RAND would publish a report of their findings last autumn. However, it has taken them longer than expected to produce it for a variety of reasons, including a redirection of effort to undertake
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more urgent work into shipbuilding strategies for the future carrier and disruption caused by the events of 11 September. RAND have also been at pains to produce the best possible report and have accordingly engaged in detailed consultation with interested parties over its content. The report is now very close to being finalised and is scheduled for publication this June.
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: As the first round of the consultation process for the Strategic Review of RAF Lyneham, RAF Brize Norton and RAF St. Mawgan, a meeting was held between officials and representatives of the relevant local authorities and Regional Development Agencies on 29 January. As the review progresses, further meetings will be held. Neither my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence nor I have met any representatives of local authorities to discuss options for RAF Lyneham.
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: The basing of the Astute class submarines is currently being considered as part of a wider review of base-porting and waterfront infrastructure. The review is proceeding to schedule and it is hoped that announcements will be made during the summer of this year. The Eurofighter will be based at RAF Leeming, RAF Leuchars and RAF Coningsby.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the length is of the PFI contracts for (a) the River class offshore patrol vessels and (b) the RN ro-ros; and what criteria he uses to decide the optimal length of PFI contracts on such ships. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: The River class offshore patrol vessel contract is an operating lease arrangement rather than a pure PFI deal. It has a duration of five years with the option to extend. The ro-ro contract is still being negotiated but the intention is that it will be a service-based PFI running until 2024.
The optimal length of any PFI type contract varies according to the circumstances of the particular deal. In practice this means taking account of the duration and scope of the requirement, the potential asset life and residual value at the end of the deal, and optimising capital financing charges. These key criteria are considered together with the scope for risk transfer to determine the length of contract that is expected to deliver the optimal value for money solution for the project.
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