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Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures have been taken by British forces in Iraq to remove and make safe (a) unexploded cluster bomblets, (b) landmines and (c) depleted uranium. [111841]

Providing a safe, secure and risk free environment for the Iraqi people is a key aspect of restoration activity for the Coalition. When any unexploded munitions—including cluster bomblets and mines—are discovered, United Kingdom and other Coalition forces mark the site and inform those in the vicinity. Their normal practice is then to destroy the munitions in situ. Those that present the greatest threat to human life and coalition operations are destroyed first.Increasing amounts of independent research by eminent scientists within groups such as the Royal Society Depleted Uranium Working Group and the United Nations Environment Programme support the view that DU levels will only necessitate precautions to prevent or reduce possible intakes in highly localised areas. As many defeated tanks as possible within the British area of operations are being cordoned off and kept undisturbed, awaiting scientific examination.In support of the United Nations Environment Programme environmental survey of Iraq, the Ministry of Defence has released information on DU used by UK Forces in the Iraq conflict and will be making available details of where that usage occurred. The UK Government will be considering carefully any scientific data which may emerge concerning environmental issues in Iraq.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will announce plans for a march past or other event of the UK Armed Forces to mark the role of the UK Armed Forces in the recent conflict in Iraq. [115448]

I refer the hon Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces gave on 6 May 2003, Official Report, column 573W, to the hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Rosindell).