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Naval Navigational Aids

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list his Department's expenditure on naval navigational aids for each year over the last five years for (a) Northern Ireland, (b) England and Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) each military port in the UK. [114335]

The future provision of Marine Services is the subject of a PPP/PFI Acquisition programme. To divulge details of current expenditure could prejudice the fairness of the competition, and the potential for gaining best value for money. I am therefore withholding this information under Exemption 7 of the Code of Access to Government Information (effective management and operations of the public service).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans he has to review the provision of navigational aids at naval installations in UK waters;[114339](2) what studies have been conducted into the provision of naval navigational aids for

(a) military ports and (b) other Ministry of Defence maritime installations in the UK;[114338]

(3) what discussions he has had with other Departments regarding the provision of naval navigational aids by providers other than the MOD;[114336]

(4) what consultations he has had with public and private sector bodies regarding the provision of navigational aids for military ports by other providers within the UK. [114337]

No reviews are planned and no studies have been conducted into the provision of naval navigational aids. However, an Assessment Phase is currently being undertaken for a long term PPP/PFI Acquisition programme for the future provision of Marine Services. These services are currently provided by Serco Denholm, under a Government Owned-Contractor Operated (GOCO) arrangement and by the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service (RMAS), part of the Warship Support Agency. The RMAS are currently responsible for the laying/recovery and annual maintenance of some 205 navigational buoys around the coast of the British Isles. Under current plans, the design authority for navigational buoys and the supply of related mooring materials will also be transferred to the successful bidder.Discussions took place with the General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA), Non-Departmental Public Bodies sponsored by the Department for Transport, in 2001 to determine whether there was scope for the GLA's to take over the maintenance and upkeep of Ministry of Defence United Kingdom navigational buoys. However, it was subsequently decided not to proceed as such an arrangement would provide little benefit to the MOD. No further discussions on this matter have taken place either with public or private sector bodies.