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Project Isolus

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to select the final short-list for Project Isolus; what the extent of (a) public and (b) local authority consultation will be; and if he will make a statement. [130525]

We expect to short-list those companies to be invited to undertake more detailed negotiations with the Ministry of Defence on Project Isolus by spring 2004. The public consultation, which will inform our evaluation of outline proposals to determine this short list, will comprise a number of focus groups in areas near to proposed sites. A citizen's panel, made up of random members of the public and representatives from the areas affected, will also be convened. In addition, the dedicated project website will be refreshed with unclassified versions of the proposals and will provide a discussion forum for the public to express their views.Consultation with local authorities affected by the outline proposals will be carried out and a stakeholder's group, to include representatives from local authorities and NGOs, will be convened. Lancaster University, who are running the consultation process on our behalf, are also contacting the local authorities to arrange a series of local access events such as drop-in centres or public meetings.It is expected that detailed negotiations with short listed companies will take up to three years to complete, and that a preferred bidder, solution and location will be selected in 2006. There will be further public consultation during this time.