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Written Answers

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 7 January 2008

Scotland

Christmas

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether it is his Department's policy to use (a) incandescent light bulbs and (b) LED lights for festive decorations on departmental premises. (173495)

The information is as follows:

(a) The Scotland Office is included in the environmental management policy and programme for the Ministry of Justice and is implementing the Government's UK sustainable action plan, issued on 5 March 2007. This includes the ongoing changeover from general lighting bulbs to energy saving bulbs wherever possible.

(b) No specific requirements have been set for decorative Christmas lights.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what his Department's policy is on the selection of (a) real and (b) artificial Christmas trees for his Department's festive decorations; and how real trees are disposed of. (173520)

The Scotland Office purchases a real Christmas tree, via an MoJ procurement contract, from a sustainable source and it is collected and recycled as green waste.

Departmental Minimum Wage

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many London-based staff are employed by his Department on the national minimum wage. (175968)

All the staff in the Scotland Office are on loan from other Government Departments and the office reimburses those Departments for the costs involved. We do not hold payroll information on the national minimum wage as it applies to such staff.

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on special advisers in 2006-07; how much has been allocated for 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. (173278)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 5 December 2007, Official Report, column 1216W.

Members' Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many letters his Department received from hon. Members and Peers in each session of Parliament since 1997. (174925)

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence. Information relating to 2007 will be published as soon as it has been collated. The report for 2006 was published on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 101-04WS. Reports for earlier years are available in the Library of the House.

Wales

Barnett Formula

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment has been made of the Barnett consequentials arising from the Children’s Plan for (a) Wales and (b) the Bridgend constituency, broken down by funding area. (175236)

The funding for the Children’s Plan announced by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCFS) in December 2007, formed part of their comprehensive spending review (CSR 2007) settlement. Barnett Consequentials formed part of the settlement for the Welsh Assembly Government.

It is for the Welsh Assembly Government to determine the allocation of the block budget reflecting their priorities and policies.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the First Minister in Wales on the £20 million Barnett consequential payment from support for disabled children and their families; and whether funding from this payment has been allocated in Bridgend constituency. (175274)

I meet regularly with the First Minister and discuss a wide range of topics including the Welsh Budget.

It is for the Welsh Assembly Government to determine the allocation of the block budget reflecting their priorities and policies.

Departmental Redundancies

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the cost was of redundancies in his Department in the 12 months preceding (a) 30 June 2004, (b) 30 June 2005 and (c) 30 June 2006. (175478)

Regulation

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales for which regulators and inspectorates his Department has had responsibility in each year since 1997; what the budget was of each such body in each year; and what the cost to the public purse was of any restructuring of each such body in each year. (175311)

House of Commons Commission

Energy Efficiency

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if the Commission will take steps to ensure that (a) heating is not kept on in offices within the Parliamentary Estate at weekends and on other occasions when it is not likely the rooms are being used and (b) radiators are turned off at weekends and times when they are not used; and if he will make a statement. (174323)

All buildings on the parliamentary estate are under the control of a Building Management System (BMS), together with heating time scheduling to automatically turn on the heating prior to the time office areas are usually occupied and turn it off when the areas are vacated at the end of the day. The BMS is monitored by the Parliamentary Works Services staff around the clock.

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how much was spent on heating on the Parliamentary Estate in each of the last four years. (174327)

It is not possible to determine how much was spent just on heating on the parliamentary estate in each of the last four years. Most of the buildings are heated by natural gas boilers which are not metered separately; most of the gas meters also record the gas used in hot water generation and in some buildings, kitchens, as well as in heating. The heating costs of a small number of buildings are included in the leasing charges and therefore they are not known.

The amounts spent on gas on the parliamentary estate in each of the last four years are given in the following table:

£

2003-04

455,554

2004-05

380,627

2005-06

584,069

2006-07

793,760

The increase in gas expenditure in the last two years is mainly due to significant increases in the unit price of gas in those years.

Portcullis House: Fires

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many times the occupants of Portcullis House were directed to leave the building due to fire in 2007; on how many such occasions a fire had occurred; what the seat of the fire was in each case where fire occurred; and what steps were taken on each occasion to (a) identify the person or persons responsible and (b) minimise the likelihood of reoccurrence. (175740)

Since 1 January 2007 there have been 13 evacuations from Portcullis House. Three were actual fires. After each fire a full fire investigation was carried out by the Fire Safety Manager.

Transport

Aircraft: Noise

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimates she has made of the likely mean (a) nitrogen dioxide and (b) aircraft noise levels in each London borough under each of the proposed third runway scenarios in (i) 2015, (ii) 2020 and (iii) 2030; and what equivalent estimates she has made if levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions and noise from aircraft remain at average 2007 levels; (171791)

(2) what the mean (a) nitrogen dioxide, (b) PM10 and (c) aircraft noise levels were in each London borough in (i) 2000 and (ii) the last year for which figures are available.

The consultation document “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport” and supporting technical reports include data and contours for NO2, PM10 and noise in the Heathrow area for 2002 (the base year for comparative purposes) and future airport development scenarios for 2015, 2020 and 2030.

Comprehensive information on air quality for each London borough is available via the London Air Quality Network

(www.londonair.org.uk/london/asp/default.asp?la_id=&showbulletins=&width=1024)

and is updated daily.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reasons were for the time taken to publish her Department's Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources report. (170691)

This was an especially challenging study given that it was not only reviewing attitudes of people to aircraft noise, but additionally was attempting ground breaking work by using specialist techniques to examine what monetary value should be put on such annoyance.

The study took longer to complete than originally envisaged primarily to accommodate additional pilot studies—as recommended by independent experts—designed to reinforce the methodology underpinning the main phase of the social survey.

The results of the study were announced just as soon as the extensive independent peer review process was completed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to provide for independent verification of whether aircraft noise limits are being exceeded at UK airports. (170698)

The issue of independent monitoring of breaches of aircraft noise limits is a matter for individual airports as part of their day-to-day operational business.

I am aware of a number of cases where airports ensure that there is independent consideration of their noise and track keeping systems either by being certified to the ISO 14001 environmental management standard or having environmental policy and management systems subject to regular independent audit. In their environmental guidance manual for airports the Airport Operators Association acknowledge that the demonstration of a good environmental management system through externally certified management system can enable the airport to secure better relationships with customers, investors and the local community.

In the “Future of Air Transport” White Paper we said that our preference remains that local solutions should be devised for local problems wherever possible, and we expect airport master plans to describe the package of measures that an airport operator intends to apply to deal with local noise problems. We look to individual airport noise and track keeping groups and consultative committees to monitor airport operations such as track-keeping, noise mapping and observance of Continuous Descent Approach (CDA).

Cars: Exhaust Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will estimate the number of cars in (a) London and (b) South East England which have carbon dioxide emissions (i) under 120g/km and meeting the Euro 4 standard for air quality, (ii) under 120g/km and not meeting the Euro 4 standard for air quality, (iii) between 120 and 225g/km and (iv) above 225g/km in each of the last five years. (172591)

Information on the number of vehicles meeting the Euro 4 standard is not held centrally.

The number of licensed cars over the last five years in London and South East England with carbon dioxide emissions between 120 and 225 g/km and above 225 g/km were as follows:

Thousand

London

South East England (excluding London)

120-225 g/km

Above 225 g/km

120-225 g/km

Above 225 g/km

2002

366

733

2003

532

1,095

2004

594

117

1,253

181

2005

749

141

1,556

215

2006

902

161

1,840

244

Notes:

1. CO2 emissions data are unavailable for vehicles registered before 1 March 2001. In addition, CO2 data are also unavailable for a small number of vehicles registered after this date.

2. CO2 emissions data in the above 225 g/km group are not held separately for 2002 and 2003.

3. Data regarding the number of vehicles meeting the Euro 4 standard are not held centrally.

Cumbrian Coastal Rail Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passengers used the Cumbrian coastal rail service between Barrow-in-Furness and Carlisle in each year since 1997. (176645)

The Department for Transport does not hold this information. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) does however publish regional passenger flows in the National Rail Trends Yearbook editions, which are available in the House Library or from their website at www.rail-reg.gov.uk

Departmental Conditions of Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what proportion of her Department's staff are employed within each salary band; what the title and role of each position within each salary band is; and for each salary band what the (a) bonus structure, (b) retirement provision, (c) expenses provision, (d) total expenses incurred in each of the last 10 years, (e) average age of employee, (f) number of (i) women and (ii) men and (g) ethnic composition is. (171410)

The current staffing figures for the Department are in the following table.

Level

Male

Female

Total

SCS Level

148

49

197

Grades 6/7

905

297

1,202

All other grades

10,180

7,140

17,320

Total

11,233

7,486

18,719

The default retirement age in the Department is 65, with an option to retire at 60. Staff may continue working after 65 subject to there being an annual business case to remain in service.

Further analysis of the composition of the Department's workforce is included in the Civil Service statistics collected by ONS from the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (formerly mandate) and the latest published statistics are for the year to 30 September 2006. These can be found in Table H at:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_labour/2006CivilServiceStatistics.pdf

A further breakdown of the information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Illegal Immigrants

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many illegal immigrants were discovered working for her Department and its agencies in the last year for which figures are available. (170482)

There are no cases of which we are aware of illegal immigrants who have been discovered working for the Department for Transport and its agencies in the last year.

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff aged between 16 and 18 were employed by her Department and its predecessors (a) directly and (b) through an employment agency in each of the last 10 years; what proportion of these were given time off work to undertake some form of training; and what proportion were provided with some form of training (i) wholly and (ii) partially funded by her Department. (171278)

Generally, nearly all 16 to 18 year-olds employed directly will be given time-off to undertake training and this is funded. However, the detailed breakdown requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Galileo

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the EU Lisbon treaty, once implemented, will have an effect on the EU's Galileo programme. (175587)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the treaty basis is for the EU's Galileo programme; and if she will make a statement. (175588)

The objectives of the Galileo programme derive from Article 156 of the treaty establishing the European Community.

Galileo: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the UK (a) has spent and (b) is expected to spend on the Galileo satellite navigation project. (175526)

The technical development of Galileo is a joint project of the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA). Approximately €1.6 billion has been committed to the development phase of the system.

European Finance and Transport Ministers have recently agreed a way forward for the funding of Galileo over the 2007-13 financial perspective. Ministers have acknowledged the Commission’s estimate, based on a public procurement, of €3.4 billion over the period to 2013 for deployment and initial operation of the system, and have agreed that it should represent a ceiling on expenditure within this financial perspective. It is intended that the deployment and initial operation of Galileo will be taken forward as an EU only programme funded through the EC Budget.

The UK’s directly committed costs as an ESA member state for the ESA element of the design and development phase of the programme is €142 million. As EU member states contribute to the EC Budget as a whole rather than to individual spending programmes within it there is no specific UK contribution to the EC Budget funded element of the development and subsequent deployment costs for Galileo.

There has been no political discussion of potential funding commitments for the public sector beyond 2013.

Heathrow Airport: Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the number of flights into and out of Heathrow which were to destinations where there is a viable rail alternative in the latest period for which figures are available. (170714)

There is no definition of what constitutes a viable rail alternative to flying. However, according to CAA statistics for 2006 there were 58,915 domestic flights to or from Heathrow carrying just under 6 million passengers. There were 28,550 flights to or from Paris and Brussels, with 2.7 million passengers.

Public Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was made available to support rural public transport in Cumbria in each year since 1997. (176730)

We have supported the provision of bus services in rural areas by means of rural bus subsidy grant (RBSG), a grant paid to local

transport authorities according to numbers living in rural areas. RBSG allocations to Cumbria county council since the grant's introduction in 1998 are shown in the following table.

£

Allocation

1998-99

957,384

1999-2000

957,384

2000-01

957,384

2001-02

1,222,506

2002-03

1,399,254

2003-04

1,428,712

2004-05

1,471,573

2005-06

1,529,273

2006-07

1,566,783

2007-08

1,604,293

Total

13,094,545

In addition, we have encouraged the development of innovative solutions to meeting rural transport needs by means of Rural Bus Challenge (RBC) competitions held from 1998 to 2003. RBC awards to Cumbria county council are shown in the following table.

£

Award

1999-2000

722,000

2000-01

800,000

2001-02

542,300

2002-03

805,573

2003-04

482,594

Total

3,352,467

Local authorities also support rural public transport from their own resources, including revenue support grant from central government.

Rail funding is not split on a county by county basis and therefore we cannot provide a specific figure for rail support for Cumbria.

Public Transport: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will extend the national concessionary fare scheme to community transport services. (176942)

Those community transport services operated under section 22 of the Transport Act 1985 which are fully available to the public will be eligible. The inclusion of all community transport services would have to be fully funded and careful consideration would have to be given to the impacts on the sector and rural bus services. The Government have a strong track record in extending concessionary travel. However its current priority is to focus on the successful implementation of the national concession in 2008. Local authorities will retain the flexibility to include community transport in their local schemes to reflect local needs and circumstances.

Railways: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to her answer of 11 December 2007, Official Report, column 430W, on railways: standards, how many hits there have been on the website; and if she will place a copy of the study in the Library. (176886)

This information is held by Stagecoach South Western Trains who can be contacted at the following address:

Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited

Customer Service Centre

Overline House

Blechynden Terrace

Southampton

Hampshire

SO15 1AL

Refuse Collection Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the new tachograph regulations will apply to local authorities' refuse collection vehicles. (176394)

Vehicles used in connection with door-to-door household refuse collection and disposal are exempt from the EU drivers' hours and tachograph rules provided they are operated by, or under contract to, a public authority.

In the Department's opinion, such operations would involve the primary collection of waste from household or commercial premises, including the collection of street cleansing waste, where the transport activity remains subsidiary to the collection. The waste collected from commercial premises must be similar to or of the same kind as that collected from households, it must be collected in the same way (i.e. door-to-door), it must not be subject to any special collection regime or special rules, and must be collected using the same vehicles.

Such operations might involve longer aggregate journeys where there are a number of stops, particularly in rural areas, but such journeys should not normally exceed a radius of 50 kilometres from the place where a vehicle is normally based.

Road Traffic

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the projected traffic numbers are on the M25 approaches to the Dartford Crossing from Essex. (176789)

The projected traffic numbers on the M25 approaches to the Dartford Crossing from Essex for the financial year 2007-08 are 26,576,414 vehicles.

Roads

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the lane restrictions on the M3 at its junction with the M25 came into force; what works were undertaken requiring the restrictions; when those works were completed; for what purpose cameras were installed west of the junction; and when she expects to lift the lane restrictions. (175609)

The trial layout of lane restrictions at Junction 12 of M25 came into force on 5 March 2007.

The lane restrictions were put in place to improve the flow of traffic from the M25 onto the M3 by re-allocating the available road space more accurately to reflect actual traffic flow. Traffic on the M3 has been restricted to a single lane through this junction to allow two dedicated lanes for traffic joining from the M25.

The trial was initially implemented for a period of four weeks to confirm the effective operation of the layout. As the trial layout has proved to be effective it has been retained.

Throughout the new layout a speed limit of 50 mph has been implemented and managed by Surrey Safety Camera Partnership to act as a safety deterrent while the trial is in place.

An announcement will be made shortly as to whether this scheme is to be made permanent or if lane restrictions are to be removed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate her Department has made of the likely levels of road usage on the A595 between Greenodd and Whitehaven by (a) private vehicles and (b) freight traffic in each of the next three years. (176732)

The Department has made no specific estimates of road usage, either private or goods vehicles, on this stretch of road for the forthcoming three years. Forecasts of traffic at a regional level are made using the Department's National Transport Model (NTM) and these are published on the Department's web site:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/roadpricing/researchtrafficcongestion.

The latest forecasts for Northwest Region, which were published in October 2007, indicate that traffic growth on rural A roads between the years 2003 to 2010 will be 9 per cent. for cars, 17 per cent. for light goods vehicles and 2 per cent. for heavy goods vehicles.

Roads: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road accidents resulting in a fatality in Copeland involved (a) drivers under 25 years of age and (b) drivers within 12 months of passing their driving test in the last five years. (176643)

The number of reported fatal road accidents involving drivers aged under 25 in Copeland in each of the last five years is as follows:

Number of fatal accidents

2002

2

2003

1

2004

2

2005

0

2006

1

Information on the length of time that drivers involved in personal injury road accidents have held a driving licence is not available.

Roads: Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the merits of roadside pedestrian training schemes for children. (175813)

We funded the £9 million Kerbcraft child pedestrian training research project in 64 English local authorities. The project provided training for five to seven-year-olds in three important road-crossing skills. The project was fully evaluated; we have disseminated interim evaluation results which show that trained children made statistically significant improvements to key behaviours, compared to untrained children. We will disseminate best practice to all local authorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will extend roadside pedestrian training schemes for children on a national basis. (175814)

Local authority road safety officers (RSOs) have the responsibility of supporting and co-ordinating road safety education, training and publicity; it is for them to consider how best to meet their local needs.

DfT will disseminate good practice in roadside child pedestrian training schemes to local authorities and educators, based on, but not exclusive to, the Kerbcraft child pedestrian training scheme as it was piloted and evaluated in England and Scotland between 2001 and 2007.

Roads: Lorries

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to reduce congestion caused by heavy goods vehicles on roads. (175635)

To reduce congestion the Department provides direct grant funding to support the use of rail and water freight where appropriate. This year these mode-shift programmes are expected to remove 1.1 million lorry journeys from the roads. The Government also promote efficiency within the road sector through the Freight Best Practice and other programmes.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many community groups she has met to discuss road improvements since her appointment; how many road improvement schemes she has visited since her appointment; and which representatives of road haulage businesses she has met since her appointment. (168683)

As part of routine business Ministers will meet a wide range of organisations including Members of Parliament, local authorities and community organisations in relation to road improvement schemes. In addition, during visits to regions, Ministers will also see a number of road schemes that have been completed or which are being promoted by the Highways Agency and local highway authorities.

Ministers have over recent months met a number of community groups, MPs and local councillors to discuss road improvement schemes, across England.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how much was spent on (a) road building and (b) road maintenance in Copeland in each year since 1997; (176641)

(2) how much was made available to support road improvement schemes in (a) Cumbria and (b) Copeland constituency in each year since 1997.

Since 1997, the Department has contributed funding as set in the following table to the following Highways Agency major road schemes on the trunk road network in Cumbria.

A595 Parton to Lilyhall Improvement Scheme;

A590 High and Low Newton Bypass;

M6 Carlisle to Guardsmill Extension;

A66 Stainburn and Great Clifton Bypass; and

A66 Temple Sowerby Bypass and Improvement to Winderwath.

Highways Agency funding

Cost (£ million)

1997-98

0

1998-99

0

1999-2000

0

2000-01

2.2

2001-02

5.3

2002-03

9.0

2003-04

2.8

2004-05

3.8

2005-06

10.7

2006-07

65.4

2007-08

94.3

Cumbria county council as local highway authority is responsible for local transport in Cumbria including the Copeland constituency. The council is currently promoting the Carlisle Northern Development Route which will be partly funded through the Government’s private finance initiative with a departmental contribution of £142.8 million towards the total cost.

The following table shows the funding through the Local Transport capital settlement that has been allocated to Cumbria county council since 1997. It is for Cumbria to determine how allocations are spent, having regard to its Local Transport Plan.

£ million

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Capital Highway Maintenance

5.5

9.2

9.8

11.1

13.0

14.7

15.5

18.8

Integrated Block Allocation

2.3

6.0

7.2

5.8

5.7

5.7

5.3

5.3

Prior to 2000-01, the Government funding support for local transport investment by Cumbria county council (including for major schemes and major maintenance) totalled £3.748 million in 1997-98, £2.384 million in 1998-99 and £5.311 million in 1999-2000.

The following table sets out the total reported revenue and capital spend both by Cumbria county council and Copeland district council on road maintenance in each year between 1997-98 and 2006-07.

£ million

Cumbria council

Area of spend

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Total Reported Revenue Spend

Cumbria

16.4

16.9

17.6

16.0

16.8

18.1

12.1

15.3

14.6

13.4

Copeland

0.037

0.054

0.032

0.029

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total Reported Capital Spend

Cumbria

n/a

2.4

5.2

2.3

4.4

11.7

10.3

12.3

15.6

13.5

Copeland

n/a

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

n/a = Not available.

Roads: Safety

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of UK road safety measures against EU member state benchmarks; and if she will make a statement. (175822)

We keep abreast of developments in road safety best practice across the EU (and indeed, the world) on a continual basis, and maintain regular dialogue with our international counterparts. In addition we produce statistics showing how the UK compares with other countries, including other EU member states, as part of the yearly report Road Casualties Great Britain.

The UK is one of the safest countries in the EU in terms of overall casualties. In 2005 there were 5.5 road deaths per hundred thousand population, which is the fourth lowest in the EU; or 4.9 road deaths per billion passenger-kilometres, which is the second lowest in the EU.

Roads: Tolls

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost has been to date of the consultancy contracts for road pricing policy; and how much is committed for future costs. (176896)

Since the then Secretary of State, the right hon. Member for Edinburgh, South-West (Mr. Darling) committed in 2004 to lead a national debate on the practicality of road pricing as a highly-effective response to rising congestion, the Department has spent some £6.5 million on consultancy contracts including professional advice on possible technical designs, system architecture and cost modelling. Another £1.0 million is currently contractually committed through to the end of 2007-08.

Although further consultancy expenditure on road pricing policy is envisaged in 2008-09 and beyond, the amount will depend on our requirements, yet to be determined, and no further expenditure is contractually committed.

South West Trains

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by how many (a) Class 442 and (b) Class 444 units South West Trains has reduced its main line express rolling stock fleet since the renewal of the franchise; and what percentage of the fleet the reduction represents. (176779)

24 Class 442 units were taken off lease before the start of the Stagecoach South Western Trains (SSWT) Franchise that commenced in February 2007. The class 442s represented 7 per cent. of the total South West Trains (SWT) fleet under the previous franchise. No Class 442s ran in service under Stagecoach South Western Trains.

45 Class 444 units are on lease to Stagecoach South Western Trains and no class 444s have been cut from mainline express services.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make it her policy to require South West Trains to put Class 442 back in service in the interests of passenger comfort. (176780)

Speed Limits

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average speed is of London bound traffic on the M25 during the morning and evening peak hours between junctions 26 and 30. (176786)

The average speed of traffic on the M25 from Junction 26 to 30 is set out in the following table.

Junctions

Peak

Average speed (mph)

26-30

Morning

57

Evening

48

30-26

Morning

52

Evening

54

The data are for weekdays only, for the hours of 7:00 to 10:00 (inclusive) and 16:00 to 19:00 (inclusive).

Sustainable Development: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding her Department has provided to the Sustainability of Land Use and Transport in Outer Neighbourhoods Project. (176395)

The Department's overall expected financial contribution to the above project amounts to £136,495, of which £35,000 was funded by ODPM in 2004. To date £120,221 has been spent.

Trains

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of the reliability of Reading’s Class 458 train coach units; and if she will make a statement. (176781)

The miles per casualty (moving annual average) in the period prior to the start of Stagecoach South Western Trains 07/11 (January 2007) for the Class 458s was 14,817 with six units in service.

The miles per casualty (moving annual average) in the latest period available 08/04 (June/July 2007) for the Class 458s was 14,613 with 30 units in service.

This demonstrates that the reliability of the units remains steady despite there being more trains diagrams in service and undertaking more mileage.

Defence

Afghanistan: Frontiers

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether all NATO member states with forces serving in Afghanistan recognise the same international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan for military operations. (175452)

All contributing nations to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan agree to be bound by the definition of the joint area of operations contained within the operational plan. Consequently the international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is viewed consistently by all these nations.

Afghanistan: NATO

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many NATO personnel are serving in Afghanistan; and what percentage are of (a) British, (b) American and (c) other nationality. (175012)

There are currently around 42,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of ISAF. British forces deployed in Afghanistan currently number approximately 7,800. We do not comment on the numbers of deployed troops from other nations, which are matters for the countries concerned; however they are listed with periodic updates on the ISAF website at:

www.nato.int/isaf/index.html

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operation

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the earliest date is by which the Future Lynx could be available in Afghanistan. (172536)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by the then Minister of State for the Armed Forces on 14 May 2007, Official Report, column 515W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in what roles the Army employs native Pashtun speakers. (176083)

The vast majority of locally engaged civilians are employed as interpreters. However, local nationals are also employed in the following roles:

Assistant Chef

Barber

EFI Shop Assistant

EFI Stock Controller

Guards

Kitchen Hands

Labour General Duties

Mechanics

Tailors

Welders

Cleaners

Clerks

While we require our interpreters to speak Pashto, there is no such requirement on locally engaged civilians in other roles.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has conducted any review of the procedures governing to operations of private security companies in Afghanistan since 2001. (164351)

[holding answer 15 November 2007]: The MOD operates according to the cross-government ‘Guidance on Contacts with Private Military and Security Companies’, as published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in February 2007. The MOD currently is reviewing the application of this guidance within Defence. The MOD has not carried out any reviews into the procedures governing to operations of private security companies in Afghanistan. Currently, the MOD does not employ any private security companies in Afghanistan.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what outreach programmes are being carried out by British forces in Kandahar province. (174477)

UK forces carry out a range of outreach projects around the Kandahar airfield that are designed to improve local infrastructure and public health. These vary in size and scope and include the provision of blankets to villages and escorting medical and dental personnel to local villages. Further activity, such as painting of mosques, installation of water pumps and drainage and irrigation projects are planned up until the end of March 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the small arms threat to aircraft in (a) Helmand and (b) Kandahar province. (174487)

We constantly assess the threat to our aircraft operating in Afghanistan and utilise tactics, techniques and procedures suitable for the threat. I am withholding further information as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) planned and (b) actual Apache flying hours were per month in (i) Afghanistan and (ii) Iraq in 2007. (174494)

I am withholding the information relating to Afghanistan as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces. The UK does not have any Apache helicopters deployed in Iraq.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are to send Vector armoured vehicles to Afghanistan; what the Vector’s capabilities are; and if he will make a statement. (174499)

The Vector vehicle has provided a light protected patrol vehicle capability in Afghanistan since April 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many helicopters of each type were deployed in Afghanistan in each month since 1 January 2002; what additional deployment of (a) Sea Kings and (b) other helicopters is planned for 2008; and if he will make a statement. (175443)

Information on the type of helicopters deployed each month prior to January 2006 is not held centrally. I am withholding the number of helicopters deployed as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces. The following table sets out, by month, the helicopter types deployed in-Theatre from January 2006 to December 2007.

Chinook

Lynx

Apache

Sea King

January 2006

Yes

No

No

No

February 2006

Yes

No

No

No

March 2006

Yes

No

No

No

April 2006

Yes

No

No

No

May 2006

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

June 2006

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

July 2006

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

August 2006

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

September 2006

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

October 2006

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

November 2006

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

December 2006

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

January 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

February 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

March 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

April 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

May 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

June 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

July 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

August 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

September 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

October 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

November 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

December 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department uses (a) civilian and (b) military personnel during the take-off and landing phase of unmanned aerial vehicles operations in Afghanistan. (175447)

The Ministry of Defence uses both civilian contractors and military personnel during the take-off and landing phase of unmanned aerial vehicles; however, the vast majority of operators are military. Once airborne, all operational mission activity is conducted by military personnel.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement by the Prime Minister of 12 December 2007, Official Report, column 304, on Afghanistan, what capabilities Sea King helicopters would have in Afghanistan. (175458)

The Sea Kings will be operating as a support helicopter able to carry troops and equipment and will be tasked accordingly.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement by the Prime Minister of 12 December 2007, Official Report, column 304, on Afghanistan, what plans his Department has to recruit and deploy specialists who speak Afghan languages and understand tribal dynamics. (175460)

The MOD is already using specialist linguists in support of its operations in Afghanistan and we expect to increase the number deployed over the coming months. In addition to specialist linguists, considerable use is made of local employed civilians in a linguist role.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Statement by the Prime Minister of 12 December 2007, Official Report, column 304, on Afghanistan, how many of his Department's personnel serve in the collocated headquarters. (175466)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 13 December 2007, Official Report, column 777W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by whom each soldier killed during the 1st Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment/2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiments’ recent operational tour in Helmand Province was replaced in the order of battle. (175622)

Airborne Manned Surveillance

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the status is of the Airborne Manned Surveillance urgent operational requirements; and if he will make a statement. (174485)

There have been a significant number of urgent operational requirements relating to surveillance capabilities for manned airborne platforms. Some are in service delivering capability on operations. Others are in progress.

I am withholding further information as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.

Aircraft Carriers: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated cost to his Department is of extending the out-of-service date of (a) HMS Illustrious and (b) HMS Ark Royal caused by the delay of the in-service dates of the CVF Carriers from 2012 and 2015 to 2014 and 2016. (169346)

There has been no delay to the future aircraft carriers' in-service dates of 2014 and 2016 as announced on 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 865 and no subsequent changes to the out of service dates of the current carriers. These out of service dates have been adjusted as planning assumptions for the introduction of the new aircraft carriers have been developed. There have been no significant extra costs associated with these adjustments.

Aircraft Carriers: Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the current status is of the order for two future aircraft carriers; and if he will make a statement. (137888)

[holding answer 17 December 2007]: As I announced on 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 865, we have committed to placing an order for two future carriers. Contracts will be placed with the industrial participants in the Aircraft Carrier Alliance delivering the project, when the joint venture between BAE Systems and VT Group has completed the necessary approvals to allow it to receive a contract. This process is nearing completion.

Animal Experiments

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his timetable is for concluding the review into hyperbaric experiments excluding the use of (a) goats and (b) any other animals; and which alternative methods are being considered. (175990)

The team of experts has now concluded its stage of the review and its recommendations are to be considered. I will write to the hon. Member when the whole process has concluded.

Armed Forces: Deployment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 10 December 2007, Official Report, column 394W, on armed forces: deployment, from which units the 200 regular army reinforcements came; and how many of them have been operationally deployed in the last six months. (174765)

[holding answer 18 December 2007]: The Regular Army reinforcements required by the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment to provide the particular skill sets and rank structure required in its role as the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team came primarily from other units in 52 Infantry Brigade.

Units within the brigade have not deployed on an operational tour at either unit or sub-unit level in the last six months. The trawl process used by the Army prevents individuals from deploying on operations within six months of a previous deployment, unless the individual is a volunteer or there is a pressing operational requirement.

Armed Forces: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much in near cash terms was spent on service retention in each financial year since 2002-03. (176278)

The cost of Financial Retention Initiatives (additions to basic pay for groups or trades with particular shortages) and Commitment Bonuses (cash payments at particular times throughout the career progression of personnel to encourage a continuance of service) is shown in the following table.

Financial year

£ million

2002-03

44.3

2003-04

63.7

2004-05

73.9

2005-06

58.2

2006-07

74.1

Many disparate activities within the Services could be considered as measures to improve retention, from the improvement of accommodation to the implementation of welfare lines or services. Information about these activities could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) by what means he monitors whether servicemen and women discharged with combat stress receive continuing treatment from the NHS; (172885)

(2) what arrangement his Department has in place for the transfer of the medical care of discharged service men and women to the NHS.

The Ministry of Defence is committed to doing all it reasonably can to ensure successful transition to civilian life. On discharge, all ex-service personnel are provided with a medical summary record, and this can be presented at the GP’s surgery when they register with a civilian doctor. If the doctor has a requirement for the full medical record, we will provide this upon request.

For the vast majority of service personnel these procedures are sufficient to ensure a seamless transition to the NHS. However, for those who are medically discharged with significant ongoing physical or mental health conditions, the care is formally handed over to appropriate medical staff by MOD specialists as the patient is medically discharged.

In the case of physical illness or injury, social work teams at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre or the single service welfare organisations ensure this seamless transfer. For those with ongoing mental illness, the specific Defence Medical Services mental health team who have been caring for that individual will begin a liaison with appropriate civilian healthcare providers (e.g. general practitioner civil mental health team) to ensure that transfer of care and patient history takes place. Additionally, we have specific mental health social workers who manage the individual’s wider resettlement issues, liaising with relevant civil agencies such as local housing authorities, financial authorities, service welfare and charitable organisations. These MOD mental health social workers ensure that the individual's transfer into the civilian environment is as smooth as possible.

Since the beginning of 2007, we have also put in place arrangements for the Department’s Veterans Welfare Service to monitor those discharged with a seriously disabling injury; this covers cases of both physical and psychological injury. While this monitoring is primarily focused on welfare matters, the service will also identify sources of medical assistance where appropriate. In cases where there is a mental health issue, this could include if appropriate a NHS/MOD Mental Health Pilot team, the Medical Assessment Programme at St. Thomas’ Hospital London, or the charity Combat Stress.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to his Department of health provision for service men and women in the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force was in 2006-07. (172894)

The information is not held in the format requested.

The Defence Medical Services (DMS) are headed jointly by the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Health) (DCDS(H) and the Surgeon General (SG). They oversee the work of three separate organisations:

(a) Defence Medical Services Directorate Headquarters (DMSD HQ);

(b) Defence Medical Education and Training Agency (DMETA);

(c) Defence Dental Services (DDS).

DCDS(H) and SG also produce medical policy for the three single services. However, the Royal Navy (RN), Army and Royal Air Force (RAF) Medical Services are responsible for delivering primary healthcare to their respective service commanders in chief and for providing the requisite medical support on operations.

The overall expenditure for the DCDS(Health) organisation for the financial year 2006-07 was £268 million. The organisational structure of the DMS in its entirety means that comprehensive primary care and operational costs cannot be provided without disproportionate effort as they are disaggregated and embedded in individual military units’ budgets.

Armed Forces: Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of (a) single and (b) family defence estate accommodation is classed as (i) category 1, (ii) category 2, (iii) category 3 and (iv) category 4; what criteria he uses for deciding whether accommodation is sub-standard; and what assessment he has made of the findings of the Public Accounts Committee report on managing the defence estate. (175298)

[holding answer 18 December 2007]: Service Families Accommodation (SFA) and Single Living Accommodation (SLA) is assessed by Grade for Charge, while most SFA is also assessed by Standard for Condition. Grade for Charge takes account of an assessment of the physical condition of the accommodation and other factors such as location and closeness to amenities.

As at 30 June 2007, our worldwide SLA stock of some 165,500 bed spaces was at the following Grade for Charge.

Number

Grade 1

38,100

Grade 2

19,000

Grade 3

28,200

Grade 4

80,200

At 1 April 2007, the worldwide SFA stock of some 70,193 properties is at the following Grade for Charge.

Number

Grade 1

12,430

Grade 2

26,447

Grade 3

22,209

Grade 4

8,720

Below Grade 4

387

Of the 70,193, some 55,548 have also been assessed by Standard for Condition (SfC). These are broken down as follows:

Number

SlfC

30,223

S2fC

19,016

S3fC

3,954

S4fC

2,355

All occupied accommodation is considered of a habitable standard. The Department currently expects to publish its response to the Public Accounts Committee report on managing the defence estate in February 2008.

Armed Forces: Influenza

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to ensure that sufficient quantities of (a) influenza vaccines, (b) anti-virals and (c) face-masks are held by armed forces operating in (i) Iraq, (ii) Afghanistan and (iii) elsewhere in the world for them to cope with a potential influenza pandemic; and if he will make a statement. (172797)

The best method to prevent infection with influenza is by prior immunisation with an appropriate vaccine. The Department of Health (DH) has purchased a quantity of the H5N1 Avian Flu vaccine, which could be offered to key occupational groups when the risk of a pandemic increases as it may give a degree of protection should the pandemic strain be a variant of H5N1. Supplies of this vaccine are being held by the DH on behalf of the MOD and in the event of an outbreak will be deployed by MOD in accordance with DH guidelines.

When an influenza virus is already circulating, therapeutic antiviral agents can help to lessen the severity of illness, reduce deaths and contain spread. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommends that during an influenza pandemic, patients with a flu-like illness should be treated with zanamivir (“Relenza”) or oseltamivir (“Tamiflu”). The DH has arranged for an appropriate stockpile quantity of Tamiflu to be purchased, which is also being held centrally, and includes an allocation for MOD. For armed forces personnel employed at one of MOD’s Permanent Joint Overseas Bases (PJOBs), stockpiles of the Tamiflu antiviral have been pre-positioned within the PJOB logistics chain for rapid deployment if necessary. For those on operational deployment in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere, supplies are held by Permanent Joint Headquarters, and will be deployed to theatre as required.

Supplies of face-masks are already held in-theatre and will be used with other appropriate preventative measures in the event of a pandemic outbreak of influenza.

Armed Forces: Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to reduce leave entitlement during operational tours. (175320)

Armed forces personnel take rest and recuperation (R and R) while on operational tours. R and R is not leave. There are no plans to change the amount of R and R for which personnel are eligible.

Armed Forces: Legal Opinion

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether armed forces chiefs receive allowances for the commissioning of legal advice. (172005)

There are no allowances payable to service personnel for the commissioning of legal advice.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what legal advice is available to armed forces chiefs for official purposes; and whether such advice was sought before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. (172006)

Internal legal advice is available to armed forces chiefs from the legal branches of their respective services and from the MOD's Director General Legal Services as appropriate. Any such advice is subject to legal professional privilege.

Armed Forces: Personnel Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 23 October 2007, Official Report, column 173W, on armed forces: personnel management, how many underpayments there were to Royal Air Force personnel between 1 January 2007 and 30 September 2007 classified by category of error; how many of these underpayments have now been corrected; and what changes have been made to the (a) payment system and (b) departmental processes following these errors. (174135)

From 1 January 2007 to 30 September 2007, other than a Change of Rank (see serial number 6 in the following table), there were no Joint Personnel Administrative system errors which affected RAF basic pay. During this period 1.83 million payments were made. Details of the Royal Air Force underpayments are given in the following table:

Serial

Type of Error

Service

Number

Action taken

January

1

Substitution Pay

RN and RAF1

620

Error corrected. Supplementary payroll run, payments one day late into bank. Average underpayment value of £150 per person.

March

2

Flying Pay for Reserve Band Pilot Officers, Navigators and Observers

RN and RAF1

54

Data and records manually correct and payments made. Average underpayment value of £170 per person.

June

3

Incorrect Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

All1

90

Error corrected. SMP now being processed correctly. Individuals underpaid by 4 days salary per month.

4

Reservists' Home to Duty Travel (HDT) allowance

All1

10,752

Error corrected. All outstanding payments made in September. Average value distance related, typically £20 to £30 per person.

September

5

Non-Commissioned Officer Flying Pay

RAF

12

Error corrected. Refunds of Flying Pay paid in October. Underpayment typically 12 per cent. of that month's salary.

6

Change of Rank

RAF

666

Records manually corrected. Automated process refined. All records corrected for October's pay run. Underpayment of promotion uplift, typically 5 per cent. of basic pay.

1 The numbers of Royal Air Force personnel affected by these issues could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Service personnel who have been underpaid can request cash advances from their units.

Service personnel who have been underpaid can request cash advances from their units.

Armed Forces: Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which less-than-lethal weapons and non-lethal weapons are available for use by armed forces personnel; how many personnel are qualified for those weapons in each branch of the forces; and how much training is required annually to maintain that qualification. (173721)

The only non-lethal weapons used by our armed forces are the L104 and L67 baton guns. Information on the number of personnel trained in the use of these weapons is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Neither of these weapons is permanently held by units; they are issued to meet the requirements of specific theatres of operation.

When these weapons are required, nominated personnel will receive appropriate training in their use prior to deployment. Those personnel trained in handling such weapons, who are required to maintain their proficiency, will need to pass a weapons handling test every six months and take part in an annual weapons assessment shoot as is the case for any weapon.

In addition to baton rounds, these weapons can also be used to fire a CS gas grenade, the L96A1, for law enforcement operations at the discretion of unit commanders in theatre. The necessary instruction is delivered during unit pre-deployment training.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Supercat vehicle is classed as a (a) protected, (b) unprotected or (c) patrol vehicle. (175210)

We have a number of Supacat-based vehicles, used for specialist roles. The most numerous are the All Terrain Mobility Platform (ATMP), and the Mobility-Weapon Mount Installation Kit (M-WMIK) which will enter service shortly.

The ATMP does not have a specific classification. It was procured as a lightweight load carrying vehicle used by airborne and airmobile units.

The M-WMIK, like all WMIK vehicles, is designed as a carrier for medium support weapons, providing high levels of terrain accessibility, situational awareness and firepower. It complements the use of Protected Patrol Vehicles.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles: Afghanistan

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2007, Official Report, column 1402W, on armoured fighting vehicles: Afghanistan, whether the 170 Vector vehicles are in addition to the 160 previously ordered. (173963)

We have ordered over 170 Vector vehicles in all, comprising a small number of specialist ambulances in addition to the original order.

Army’s Total Fleet Requirement 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the Army’s Total Fleet Requirement 2007. (174482)

I will arrange for a copy of the most recently endorsed Army’s Total Fleet Requirement, from 2006, to be placed in the Library of the House.

AWE Burghfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what operational restrictions have been imposed at AWE Burghfield following the report from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate. (172494)

The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) now requires AWE plc to seek prior authorisation for assembly/disassembly work. Such activities have always been allowed to proceed, with no impact on operations at AWE Burghfield, which remains fully operational and safe.

It is emphasised that, if NII believed a particular operation were unsafe, it would not allow it to take place, and has appropriate regulatory powers at its disposal to cease operations. AWE Burghfield remains operational as the NII is satisfied that all appropriate licence conditions are being met by AWE plc.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence why AWE Burghfield did not meet the deadline of 27 September to address the shortfalls identified as a result of its periodic review of safety. (172496)

Some of the issues identified by AWE plc as a result of its periodic review of safety required the procurement of specialist equipment where the acquisition time was such that the equipment could not be brought into service by the deadline of 27 September. Consequently, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) has agreed a new programme of work with AWE plc. It is important to note that NII is satisfied that appropriate progress is being made at AWE Burghfield to address the findings of the periodic review of safety.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what safety care shortfalls were identified by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate at AWE Burghfield. (172497)

The safety case issues in question were identified not by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII), but by AWE plc in its own periodic review of safety. These were associated primarily with risk assessment techniques and the clarity of audit trails. A revised safety case addressing these issues was adopted in September 2007 and NII is satisfied that appropriate progress is being made at AWE Burghfield to address the findings of the periodic review of safety.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what responses he has made to the letter from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate dated 9th May, Annex 1, with particular reference to its conclusions on the safety of continuing to operate at AWE Burghfield; and if he will make a statement. (172498)

The letter from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) was to AWE plc and not MOD. MOD officials work very closely with both the AWE nuclear site licensee, AWE plc, and the external regulator, the NII The latter is satisfied that operations at AWE Burghfield are safe and the Department's internal nuclear safety regulator supports this position. No useful purpose could therefore be served by the intervention of the Secretary of State for Defence in matters which are essentially for AWE plc to address with the NII.

AWE Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) name, (b) function, (c) estimated cost and (d) projected in-service date is of each of the 23 new build projects in the Atomic Weapons Establishment Site Development Context Plan 2005-15. (170844)

The 23 projects included in each of the functions in the Atomic Weapons Establishment Site Development Context Plan 2005-15 are listed in the following table. Where applicable, the names of projects are indicated where they have been finalised. The function of each project correlates with the headings in the plan. Costs not shown are being withheld as their disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests. Projected in-service dates are shown in five-year bandings in order to avoid prejudice to national security and/or defence interests.

These facilities are required to support the UK's current warhead in-service. Decisions on whether and how we may need to refurbish or replace this warhead are likely to be necessary in the next Parliament.

Name of project

Cost (£m)1

Function

Projected in-service period 2007-10

Orion Laser

183

Testing/research

IT server buildings (two projects)

30

Computer/communications

New office accommodation Phase 1

71

Office and business support accommodation

New office accommodation Phase 2

Office and business support accommodation

New office accommodation Phase 3

Office and business support accommodation

Modular accommodation five buildings

25

Office and business support accommodation

Car park

0.1

Office and business support

Car park

Office and business support

Landscaping

Environmental

Projected in-service period 2011-15

Small components interim

Manufacturing/production

High explosives climatic trials

Manufacturing/production

Warhead assembly/disassembly

Manufacturing/production

Systems engineering

Manufacturing/production

Hydrodynamics

Testing/research

High performance computer

Computing/communications

High explosives fabrication

Manufacturing/production

Chemical processing

Manufacturing/production

Landscaping

Environmental

Projected in-service period 2016-20

Uranium components

Manufacturing/production

High explosives assembly for trials

Testing/research

Small components

Testing/research

Laboratory

Testing/research

12007-08 prices.

Ballistic Missile Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what requests he has received from the United States administration to use RAF Menwith Hill as part of the US Missile Defense System since 1st January 2001; and if he will place copies of those requests in the Library. (173866)

The US administration's request for missile warning data being routed through RAF Menwith Hill for use in the US missile defense system was received in a classified letter dated 29 June 2007. It is not the practice of the Government to make public the details of correspondence with foreign governments as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice international relations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the letter he received on 29 June 2007 from the United States requesting the use of RAF Menwith Hill as part of the US Ballistic Missile Defence programme. (175472)

It is not the practice of the Government to make public the details of classified correspondence with foreign governments as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice international relations.

Bombs

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what definition the Government uses of (a) smart and (b) dumb cluster munitions; what munitions it will ban in accordance with the Oslo process; and if he will consider banning all forms of cluster munitions. (170146)

[holding answer 3 December 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Dr. Howells) gave on 4 December 2007, Official Report, column 1131W.

Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average rate of increase of indices used in variation of price formulae for fixed price contracts was in each financial year since 1997-98. (176282)

The information requested is not held centrally and could be provide only at disproportionate cost.

Corporate Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which members of (a) the Defence Council, (b) the Defence Management Board, (c) Defence Equipment and Support, (d) Defence Estates, (e) Science, Innovation and Technology TLB and (f) Central TLB attended the reception hosted by defence equipment manufacturers at the Automobile Club in London on Tuesday 18 September 2007. (175951)

The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Defence Analytical Services Agency: Forecasts

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will place in the Library copies of each of the Defence Analytical Service Agency’s quarterly ‘what if’ fuel price forecasts issued since 2001-02; (176287)

(2) if he will place in the Library copies of each annual review of the Defence Analytical Service Agency’s ‘what if’ fuel price forecast model issued since 2001-02.

Details of these forecasts are not available for this period as the Defence Analytical Services Agency does not routinely retain this information.

Defence Analytical Services Agency: Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which statistical publications have been produced by the Defence Analytical Services Agency since 1997. (176286)

The external statistical publications produced by the Defence Analytical Services Agency are available on the DASA website at:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk

Information in some instances goes back as far as 2001 or 2000. UK Defence Statistics, the annual statistical compendium of the Ministry of Defence is available on the website back to 1997.

Prior to the establishment of the website, the following titles were published in printed form:

TSP01 - Strength, Intake and Outflow of UK Regular Forces (Monthly)

TSP02 - UK Armed Forces Full Time Strengths and Requirements (Quarterly)

TSP03 - UK Armed Forces Trained Strengths and Requirements (Monthly)

TSP04 - Quarterly Press Release

TSP05 - Trained Outflow to Civil Life (Quarterly)

TSP06 - Global Location of UK Regular Forces1 (Quarterly)

TSP07 - Reserve Forces (Annual)

TSP08 - Age Distribution (Annual)

TSP09 - Rank Structure of UK Regular Forces (Quarterly)

TSP10 - UK Regular Forces Stationed Location (Quarterly)

TSP11 - Marital Status by Paid Rank (Annual)

TSP13 - UK Regular Forces servicemen age on entry2 (Annual)

TSP15 - UK Service Personnel on loan to other countries2 (Quarterly)

TSP16 - UK Regular Forces disciplinary convictions2 (Annual)

TSP19 - Intake to and Outflow from UK Regular Forces (Annual)

TSP20 - Male Regular Forces outflow by rank2 (Annual)

TSP22 - UK Regular Forces comparative statistics2 (Annual)

TSP24 - Strength of uniformed medical staff2 (Annual)

CPS01 - Civilian Personnel Statistics (Quarterly)

CPS02 - Regional analysis of resignations for admin and science group staff1 (Quarterly)

1 TSP06 was merged into TSP10 from January 2007.

2 Publication discontinued.

Defence Analytical Services Agency: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of all extant Defence Analytical Services Agency service level agreements. (176285)

Yes, copies of Defence Analytical Services Agency (DASA) extant service level agreements (SLA) are being collated. I will arrange to place copies in the Library of the House when this work is complete.

Defence Equipment and Support Organisation: Private Sector

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many secondees from the private sector are working within the Defence Equipment and Support Organisation at Abbey Wood. (173409)

[holding answer 11 December 2007]: As at 1 December 2007 there were 79 non-MOD employees working at MOD Abbey Wood. The number of these who were secondees from the private sector within Defence Equipment and Support is not recorded separately.

Defence Equipment and Support: Cost Effectiveness

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) in what ways Defence Equipment and Support encourages competition in the supply chain in order to ensure value for money; (174787)

(2) in what ways the Defence Suppliers Service encourages competition in the supply chain to ensure better value for money.

The Department seeks effective competition at the prime and sub-contract level, using the Defence Contracts Bulletin and, where appropriate, the Official Journal of the European Union to publicise future requirements including competitive sub-contract opportunities.

The Ministry of Defence is currently reviewing its policy in relation to supply networks. One of the aims of the policy is to address the issue of competition and value for money in the supply chain.

Defence Equipment: Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on the programmes for (a) Type-45 destroyers, (b) Astute submarines, (c) MARS and (d) CVF; and what is expected to be spent on each project in each of the next seven years. (172144)

Expenditure up to 31 March 2007 for the Type 45 Destroyer and the Astute submarine programmes was reported on 30 November 2007 in the National Audit Office's Major Projects Report 2007 and is reproduced in the following table:

Programme

£ million

Type 45

3,477

Astute

2,539

Expenditure up to 31 March 2007 for the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) and CVF programmes is shown in the following table:

Programme

£ million

MARS

10.5

CVF

374.9

Detailed spending plans are kept under review.

Defence Estates: Charities

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether his Department charges charitable organisations for public liability insurance for events held on departmental property; (171348)

(2) what arrangements are made for public liability insurance for events organised by charitable organisations held on his Department’s property;

(3) if he will make it his policy not to charge charitable organisations for events held on departmental property;

(4) whether his Department charges charitable organisations for events held on departmental property; and if he will make a statement.

Under Government Finance Accounting Regulations (Managing Public Money), there are no special arrangements for the treatment of charities, whether service or other. The fact that a charity is to be the main beneficiary of a good or service is not in itself sufficient justification to introduce a special charging regime or to set charges aside. There is the opportunity for abatement of full costs and this decision is on a case-by-case basis taking account of any special circumstances that may apply.

All privately-run events on departmental property, whether charitable or other are required to be covered by public liability insurance. This requirement is passed on to the organiser who is responsible for ensuring that appropriate cover is in place. Where commercial insurance is either not available or only at disproportionate cost, then organisers are charged under a Departmental Insurance Scheme.

Defence Manufacturers Association

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidelines his Department issues to staff at (a) his Department, (b) Defence Equipment and Support staff and (c) members of the armed forces on attending events organised by the Defence Manufacturers’ Association. (174785)

The MOD Statement of Civilian and Service Personnel Policy Annex: Gifts, Rewards and Hospitality issued by the People, Pay and Pensions Agency, provides Departmental guidance to all MOD Civilian staff and Service personnel on the rules governing the way in which individuals should react to offers of gifts, hospitality or other considerations from private companies and defence contractors that have a contractual relationship with the MOD. This will include the Defence Manufacturers Association and associated member companies.

Defence Equipment and Support (D E and S) have issued additional separate guidelines to all D E and S officials on attendance at external events and conferences.

Defence: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent discussions he has had with HM Treasury on payments for urgent operational requirements; (174493)

(2) whether urgent operational requirements are paid for from the Treasury Reserve;

(3) pursuant to his statement of 12 November 2007 that the defence budget will receive an additional £200 million in 2010-11, Official Report, column 500, what the revised (a) near cash resource departmental expenditure limit (DEL), (b) non-cash resource DEL and (c) capital DEL is.

The first £100 million of the additional £200 million in the defence budget for 2010-11 was included in the MOD’s capital departmental expenditure limits (DEL) announced in the comprehensive spending review. HM Treasury has agreed that a further £100 million will be added to the defence budget in 2010-11, which will bring the capital DEL funding to £8,971 million in 2010-11. There will be no change to the near cash or the non-cash resource DEL.

Defence Ministers have frequent discussions with colleagues from HM Treasury on a range of issues.

Urgent operational requirements are, and will continue to be, paid up front in full from the Treasury Reserve. We have agreed a new overall funding arrangement with HM Treasury for the funding of UORs for the comprehensive spending review period as I set out in my statement to the House on 12 November 2007, Official Report, column 500. This arrangement is designed to be cost neutral to defence.

Defence: ICT

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the merits of switching to the Defence Information Infrastructure version F computer system from the Defence Information Infrastructure version C; and if he will make a statement. (175017)

[holding answer 17 December 2007]: The long-term aim of the MOD is to implement a single information infrastructure across Defence; the Defence Information Infrastructure Future (DII(F)). The Defence Information Infrastructure Convergence (DII(C)) project was implemented at specific sites to bridge the gap between ageing legacy systems in MOD, which were going out of service, and DII(F) being available.

DII(F) is being rolled out now to become the primary information infrastructure across the MOD and is replacing many ageing legacy systems and DII(C) as planned. DII(F) will provide common core infrastructure services which meet the security, technical and interoperability demands of the MOD jointly across the business and battle space and will provide access to the applications required to support and enable the delivery of MOD’s outputs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated cost is of changing from Defence Information Infrastructure version F to Defence Information Infrastructure version C; and how many officials worked on making the change. (175018)

[holding answer 17 December 2007]: Defence Information Infrastructure Convergence (DII(C)) was a precursor infrastructure to Defence Information Infrastructure Future (DII(F)) and was only implemented for a subset of the eventual DII(F) user community. DII(C) was implemented at specific sites to bridge the gap between the ageing legacy systems in MOD going out of service and DII(F) being available. DII(C) will eventually be subsumed by DII(F).

Defence: Lobbying

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance is in place for (a) his officials and (b) officials at (i) the Defence Suppliers Service and (ii) Defence Equipment and Support Organisation on meetings with lobbyists employed by defence contractors. (174788)

No specific guidance is issued to MOD officials regarding the meeting of lobbyists employed by defence contractors. However, all MOD Crown servants (including members of the armed forces) are expected to conduct themselves at meetings with representatives of defence contractors in accordance with MOD policy on the acceptance of gifts, rewards and hospitality and the civil service code.

Defence: Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list for each of the last four years the principal items of military equipment acquired under the Urgent Operational Requirements procedures which have been transferred to his Department’s budget; when they were so transferred; and what proportion of Urgent Operational Requirements acquired equipment in the 2007-08 financial year he expects to be charged to his Department’s budget in 2007-08. (164657)

When there is an enduring requirement for Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) equipment, it is brought into the core defence programme. This is usually at the end of the operation. Continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan mean that we have not yet brought a significant number of UORs into core.

UORs brought into core have only been recorded centrally by MOD since 2005. Principal UORs taken into core since 2005 include enhanced armour and environment modifications for Challenger II; AS90 environmental enhancement to operate in extreme hot, dry conditions; tactical Global Positioning Systems; Helmet Mounted Night Vision Systems; and additional weapons stocks.

We have not yet taken decisions on UORs to be brought into our core programme in the current financial year as the planning round has not yet concluded.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on spare parts for equipment by (a) the Army, (b) the Royal Navy and (c) the Royal Air Force in each of the last five financial years. (174238)

The total defence equipment and support (DE&S) expenditure on capital spares additions in each of the last four financial years (to the nearest £ million) is provided in the following table. Individual capital account codes did not exist within the Department’s financial systems prior to Financial Year 2003-04. Previous information for Financial Year 2002-03 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

£ million

2003-04

581

2004-05

439

2005-06

385

2006-07

409

The breakdown by Front Line Command for Financial Years 2005-06 and 2006-07 is given in the following table. Information broken down for Financial Years 2003-04 and 2004-05 (to the required accuracy) could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

£ million

Service

2005-06

2006-07

Army

82

109

Royal Navy

45

55

Royal Air Force

248

228

Joint service/others

10

17

Total

385

409

It should be noted that these figures do not include any expenditure for non-balance sheet low value spare parts for equipment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria have to be fulfilled for a would-be defence supplier to become a prime contractor; and how a decision on the matter is made. (175041)

In response to business need, the Department assesses any potential supplier's eligibility against a number of standard objective criteria including capability, quality, financial and legal status, organisation, and supply chain management. The potential supplier is also assessed against project-specific criteria pertinent to the particular requirement.

Departmental Assets

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what total value of (a) land and (b) facilities is surplus to his Department’s foreseeable purposes in Northern Ireland; and what plans he has to dispose of such assets. (176656)

The Ministry of Defence keeps its estate, including that in Northern Ireland, under constant review to meet present and planned future requirements. Land and property that is no longer required is disposed of as quickly as possible.

It is the Department’s normal policy to dispose of such surplus assets at market value in accordance with the guidance set out in “Managing Public Money”.

Sites are disposed of by means of a competitive process in order to ensure best value for defence. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to release expected receipts as it might impact on future negotiations with potential purchasers.

A list of all sites currently in disposal is available in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total value of (a) land and (b) facilities gifted, donated or loaned to local community initiatives by his Department was in each region of the UK in each of the last 10 years. (176657)

The gifting of land and facilities over £100,000 (£250,000 since 1 April 2005) requires the approval of HM Treasury and Parliament. Details of gifts below that level are not held centrally. Since 1997 the following value of gifts of land and facilities, in support of local community initiatives, have been reported in the departmental accounts following approval by Parliament:

£ million

Northern Ireland

2002-03

6.4

2003-04

13.0

South East

2005-06

0.35

The MOD does not loan facilities for local community initiatives except in so far as these constitute welfare facilities for the armed forces. Any land and facilities that are surplus to defence requirements are disposed of in accordance with “Managing Public Money” issued by HM Treasury.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what total value of his Department’s (a) land and (b) buildings was sold in each region of the UK in each of the last 10 years. (176658)

This Department does not keep a separate record of the value raised from the sale of land and buildings in each region of the UK and such a breakdown could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, the total accrued disposal receipts for each year since 1998-99 (the earliest year available) were as follows:

Financial year

£ million

1998-99

59

1999-2000

301

2000-01

225

2001-02

185

2002-03

279

2003-04

207

2004-05

212

2005-06

258

2006-07

394

These figures are taken from the Defence Estates annual reports and accounts, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mechanism exists for liaison between his Department and the Northern Ireland Office when considering disposal of departmental (a) land and (b) buildings in Northern Ireland. (176659)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is required to obtain market value when disposing of surplus assets. In Northern Ireland all surplus MOD assets are advised to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFM/DFM) at the earliest opportunity. OFM/DFM circulates details to Northern Ireland Government Departments.

We have also committed to adhere to the “clearing house” process used by Northern Ireland Government Departments under which details of surplus MOD assets are circulated to Northern Ireland Government Departments and agencies. This process is managed by the Central Advisory Unit (CAU) of Land and Property Services. Northern Ireland Government Departments and agencies may register interest through the CAU who notifies MOD accordingly.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what account is taken of community cohesion when considering the disposal of departmental (a) land and (b) buildings in Northern Ireland. (176660)

The Ministry of Defence is required to obtain market value when disposing of surplus assets, and follows procedures laid down in “Managing Public Money’ and particular processes applicable to Northern Ireland. The Department works closely with the Northern Ireland Office when disposing of surplus assets to allow other Northern Ireland Government Departments and agencies to express an interest. We also work closely with the local authorities and other key stakeholders when considering its disposal strategy and the most appropriate alternative use, taking into account the requirements of the local community. This will often include an assessment of development and regeneration opportunities through the preparation of a planning brief or outline planning application which can be taken forward by prospective purchasers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will consider gifting his Department's land and facilities to local communities to promote inter-community cohesion initiatives. (176812)

Land and facilities that are surplus to defence requirements are disposed of in accordance with HM Treasury's "Managing Public Money" guidance. Any gifting with a value in excess of £250,000 requires both Treasury and parliamentary approval.

Departmental Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many air miles were travelled by Ministers in his Department in each year since 2000; and what estimate he has made of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result; (172228)

(2) how many air miles were travelled by (a) the Secretary of State and (b) other Ministers in his Department on short haul flights over the last 12 months; and what estimate he has made of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result of these flights.

Since 1999 the Government have published a list of all overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers costing over £500. Information for the last financial year was published on 25 July 2007. Details for the current financial year will be published as soon as possible after the end of the financial year. From next year, the list will include details of overseas visits undertaken by all Ministers. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code.

All central Government ministerial and official air travel has been offset from 1 April 2006. Departmental aviation emissions are calculated on an annual basis and subsequently offset through payments to a central fund. The fund purchases certified emissions reductions credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with sustainable development benefits, located in developing countries.

In addition, offsetting the flights of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, and the Prime Minister has been backdated to 1 April 2005.

A list of Government Carbon Offsetting Fund members, their emission figures and what activities they have offset through the fund is available online at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/carbonoffset/government.htm

Departmental Coordination