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Chatham Dockyard

Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence which of his schemes comprising the Chatham dockyard development plan have firm financial approval; and what were or are their intended starts and completion dates.

Final financial approval is given to individual projects on the completion of design work. For the items in the Chatham development plan only the radioactive equipment store has reached this stage: construction has started and it is hoped to finish it in June 1979.A further six projects including factory modernisation and a new pipe store are being planned in detail by PSA. They are all expected to be completed by 1982.

The detailed requirements for another seven projects including a new finishing trades centre and afloat support facilities are being finalised by the Chatham joint planning team. The balance of the programme will be considered later.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what will be the effect of the approved schemes included in the Chatham dockyard development plan on increasing the numbers of industrial and non-industrial workers there.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what are the safeguards to ensure the culmination and completion of the development plan for Chatham dockyard beyond those schemes already firmly approved and actually budgeted for.

The Chatham development plan is a comprehensive planning document which identifies broadly the facilities which may be required at Chatham to enable the dockyard to fulfil its role efficiently in meeting naval requirements. The plan includes about 60 construction or modernisation projects which will be considered individually for planning and implementation over a long period. The detailed composition and timing of each will be subject to continuous review in the light of overall defence requirements and budgetary considerations in the same way as development plans in all other establishments are progressed.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether the development plan for Chatham dockyard will take priority over any major building requirement or programme for other Royal Navy dockyards.

No. Construction priorities in the Navy department, as in the Ministry of Defence as a whole, are determined in the light of overall operational requirements.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many apprentices have been entered in Chatham dockyard so far in 1978; how many more it is expected to enrol before the end of the year; and how many it is intended to enter in 1979.

Chatham dockyard has entered 221 apprentices so far during 1978 and a further one is due to join shortly. Nine of these are being trained for the shipbulding industry. The size of the 1979 entry has still to be decided.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when the work on the two improved dry docks to handle the Royal Navy's latest warships in Chatham dockyard will commence; and what is the intended completion date.

Work on the first stage of these improvements is planned to commence in the middle of 1980 and complete at the end of 1983. Time scales for the later stages of the improvements have yet to be decided.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when work on a nuclear store and a radioactive workshop in Chatham dockyard will commence; and what are the intended completion dates.

Work on the radioactive workshop in Chatham dockyard commenced in July 1978 and is expected to be completed in summer 1979. It is planned to start construction work on the nuclear store in May 1980. The work is expected to be completed in November 1981.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what naval craft it is intended to repair and refit in future in Chatham dockyard; and what effect this will have on similar activities in other Royal Navy dockyards.

It remains the intention to undertake in Chatham dockyard the refit and repair of nuclear Fleet submarines, frigates and various other vessels and small craft. This programme will not affect the activities of the other Royal dockyards.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when it is intended to commence the construction of the syncro lift in Chatham dockyard; and whether the necessary £8 million required for this development has already been allocated.

No decision has yet been taken on the form in which improved small ship refitting facilities at Chatham dockyard might best be provided.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if it is the Government's intention to carry out the repair and refit of all naval vessels in future in the Royal Naval dockyards.

It remains the policy to undertake in the Royal dockyards all refits and repairs of Her Majesty's ships, whenever this is both practicable and cost effective. Because the current heavy load of naval refitting work is in excess of the capacity of the dockyards it has become necessary, in order that the Fleet's operational commitments can be met, to place to contract some additional refits and dockings.