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Military Exercise (Soviet Inspection)

Volume 181: debated on Wednesday 28 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the inspection of a military exercise by Soviet officials in the United Kingdom in September this year; what was the name of this exercise; and how many military personnel were involved.

The Soviet Union conducted an inspection under the terms of the document of the Stockholm conference on confidence and security building measures in Europe in the United Kingdom from 26 to 28 September 1990. Under the terms of this document any of the 35 participating states has the right to conduct inspections on the territory of any participating state within the whole of Europe. The purpose of such inspections is to clarify doubts about compliance with the agreed measures.The area designated for inspection by the Soviets was bounded by Holmer point, Hove, St. Catherines point, Portland Bill and Chepstow (some 12,000 sq m). Almost exactly the same area was designated by the Soviets in 1988 for the purposes of the only other inspection that has been conducted in the United Kingdom to date.There was no significant exercise activity taking place within the designated area. The maximum number of troops on exercise within the area on any day was around 4,000.The inspection successfully demonstrated to the Soviets the United Kingdom's continued compliance with the terms of the document.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Soviet inspectors participated in the inspection of a British military exercise in September; what sites were visited; and what was the cost of this inspection to Her Majesty's Government.

Four Soviet inspectors participated in the inspection. They were accommodated at Bulford and they visited the following sites:

  • Salisbury Plain Training Area
  • Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst
  • Ash Ranges, Surrey
  • Longmoor Training Area, Hampshire
  • Browndown Training Area, Hampshire
  • School of Signals, Blandford
  • HQ United Kingdom Land Forces, Wilton
  • RAF Middle Wallop
  • Bovington Training Area, Dorset
  • Long Valley Training Area, Hampshire
  • Army Apprentices College, Chepstow.
The cost of the inspection is not available. Inspections are not centrally funded and costs, for the most part, lie where they fall. Costs encompass such areas as accommodation, transport, provisions and staff costs of the accompanying interpreters and escorts.