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22 Jan 2003 : Column 328W—continued

Marine Pollution

Mr. Bill Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether it is his Department's policy to regard the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 and the Protocol of 1978 related thereto (MARPOL 73/78), as amended and reiterated in Regulation (EC) No 417/2002 as best practice; what plans he has to take steps to apply MARPOL 73/78 to vessels falling under the auspices of his Department; and if he will make a statement. [92314]

Dr. Moonie: All of the vessels that fall under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence comply with the provisions of the marine pollution legislation quoted and which is collectively known as MARPOL 73/78. Although MARPOL 73/78 allows, under Article 3, for the exemption of military vessels from its provisions it has long been MOD policy that these vessels will comply with or put in place systems that are as good or better than the standards required by this legislation. All military ships have a management system for environmental compliance and this is audited on a regular basis. In addition, any pollution incident is reported and the appropriate steps taken to minimise the pollution potential.

Maritime Terrorist Threats

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes his Department has made in respect of future (a) numbers of and (b) armament for fast patrol boats as a result of Islamist terrorist maritime threats since the attack on the USS Cole. [91234]

Mr. Ingram: The Royal Navy currently has 18 Inshore Patrol Craft in commission. The requirement for naval force protection is reviewed regularly. Most recently, this has seen the decision to replace the Gibraltar Squadron with vessels previously assigned to patrol duties in the Northern Ireland region. I am, however, withholding full details of the Royal Navy's patrol craft capability in accordance with Exemption 1 of the code of practice on Access to Government Information.

Missile Inceptors

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his assessment is of the feasibility of basing missile

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interceptors in the UK as part of a ballistic missile defence system; and if he will make a statement. [91043]

Mr. Hoon: No such assessment has been undertaken.

Missing Firearms

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many firearms have gone missing from the

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stocks of the (a) Army, (b) Navy and (c) RAF in each of the last five years; and what category of weapons these were. [91329]

Dr. Moonie: In the last five years up to 15 January 2003, 101 firearms were declared missing from the three armed services. Over the same period, 72 were recovered. The following table indicates the losses per year by category:

YearRoyal NavyArmyRoyal Air ForceTotal lossesTotal(3)recoveries
1998Nil3 Pistols 11 Military Rifles1 Military Rifle1511
19991 Pistol1 Pistol 9 Military Rifles 1 Sub-Machine Gun 1 Mortar 1 Antique/Other 1 Shot GunNil1515
20001 Military Rifle21 Pistols 1 Military Rifle 10 Antique/Others 7 Shot Guns1 Antique/Other 4 Target Rifles (Sport)4523
2001Nil4 Pistols 3 Military Rifles 2 Sub-Machine Guns2 Pistols1114
2002Nil2 Pistols 4 Military Rifles 4 Sub-Machine Guns 2 Target Rifles (Sport)3 Pistols159

(3) The numbers of recovered firearms quoted in the draft answer does not directly correlate to the losses in the same years, because losses and recoveries do not always occur in the same year.

Naval Establishments

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 16 December 2002, Official Report, column 516W, and his letter to the hon. Member for New Forest, East of 18 December 2002, how many intruders of those listed in each of the tables set out in that letter as having been arrested were charged with offences; and what the reasons are for the disparity between numbers arrested and numbers convicted following incursions at (a) RNAD Coulport from April 2001–02 and (b) HMNB Clyde from April 2000–01 and from April 2001–02. [91284]

Mr. Ingram: All persons arrested, identified in the tables contained in my letter of 18 December 2002, were charged and all those persons arrested in Scotland were reported to the Procurator Fiscal with a view to prosecution. Convictions however are a matter for the judicial system.

Operational Status

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the operational status is of (a) 22 Regiment Royal Artillery and (b) 161 (Ambulance) Regiment RLC. [91048]

Mr. Ingram: 22 Regiment Royal Artillery is under the operational command of 7 Air Defence Brigade and the Regiment is currently operational. 161 (Ambulance) Regiment Royal Logistic Corps was disbanded on 1 October 2002 as a result of the Strategic Defence Review.

Pay Talks

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Public and Commercial Services Union about their opposition to the four-year pay settlement; and if he will make a statement. [91641]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 20 January 2003]: Neither my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, nor I have met the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) to discuss this issue. But the Permanent Secretary met with representatives of the union on 25 November 2002 to discuss their concerns. The Ministry of Defence continues to listen to the concerns of the PCS, and take account of them as implementation proceeds and officials continue to maintain a close dialogue with the trade unions about this matter.

Public Service Agreements

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list PSA targets for 1999–2000 to 2001–02 which his Department has not achieved stating the progress made in each case; and if he will make a statement. [92143]

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Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence published details of progress against all outstanding PSA targets, including for 1999–2000 to 2001–02, in its Performance Report 2001–02 (Cm 5661), laid before the House on 22 November 2002.


Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the timing of his placing in the Library his departmental minute on the sell-off of QinetiQ to the Carlyle Group. [91962]

Dr. Moonie: On 5 December 2002, immediately after the key terms for the sale of a stake in QinetiQ were agreed with the purchaser, I announced the details to Parliament. Following this, and in accordance with government accounting rules and in line with normal departmental practice, officials prepared a departmental minute describing the contingent liabilities accepted by the Ministry of Defence as part of the transaction. This was formally laid before Parliament on 17 December.

Members have 14 sitting days to raise any objections to the proposals detailed in the minute and this period ends on 23 January 2003.

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the composition was of the financial payment made to QinetiQ on its post-privatisation; how much was paid in respect of (a) staff pensions, (b) termination of prior contracts and (c) other issues. [92293]

Dr. Moonie: No such payments have been made to QinetiQ. Certain contingent liabilities in relation to staff pensions and to contract termination remain with the Ministry of Defence, and these were described in the departmental Minute laid before Parliament on 17 December 2002.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to postpone to go-ahead with the sale of QinetiQ to the Carlyle Group until Parliament has an opportunity to evaluate and debate the proposals set out in his departmental minute of 17 December 2002. [92300]

Dr. Moonie: No. To date, we have received no substantive objections which would justify either a delay in the sale process or a Parliamentary debate. However, we will, of course, continue to give proper consideration to any specific points raised in relation to the issues covered in the Departmental Minute laid before the House on 17 December 2002.

RAF Fairford

Mr. David Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the flight path of planes flying into and out of RAF Fairford. [92162]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 21 January 2003]: Most aircraft arriving at or departing from RAF Fairford use the Daventry corridor, situated about 20 miles to the north east of the base. Incoming planes generally descend to 2000 feet as they make their final approach along a westerly or easterly flight path as dictated by the orientation of the runway and the prevailing wind speed and direction. Similarly, planes departing the base also use a westerly or easterly flight path.

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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what limitations upon stored weapons apply to RAF Fairford. [92163]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 21 January 2003): Aircraft weapons are not stored at RAF Fairford during normal peacetime operations, although to a maximum limit of 200kg, explosives may be brought to RAF Fairford in support of exercise activities. The storage facilities for explosives are licensed in accordance with relevant peacetime Explosives Regulations.

As might be expected, a small quantity of personal firearms and ammunition are held at the base.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many military personnel are stationed at RAF Fairford; and how many civilian personnel are employed there. [92164]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 21 January 2003]: As at 31 December 2002, the numbers of military and civilian personnel at RAF Fairford were:

Military personnel stationedCivilian personnel employed
RAF Fairford175212

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