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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for Thursday 24 January 2013

Ammunition: Scotland

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what munitions dumping sites were used in Scotland prior to the signing of the OPSAR Convention; and what amount of each type of munitions was dumped at those sites. [138943]

Mr Francois: Ministry of Defence (MOD) information on munitions disposed of at sea in the British Isles, including the waters off Scotland, has been placed in the public domain; it can be accessed at the following internet address:
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121203135425/http:/www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/HealthandSafetyPblications/DSEA/DisposalOfMunitionsAtSea.htm

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the environmental effects of historic dumping of munitions in (a) Scotland’s exclusive economic zone and (b) the UK continental shelf that is in Scottish waters. [138944]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has two studies covering the scope of this question. The first report was undertaken by the then Scottish Office Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department, titled “Surveys of the Beaufort Dyke Explosives Disposal Site”, and published in November 1996. This was a comprehensive report of the UK’s main munitions dumping site located off Scotland. The MOD’s former Defence Evaluation Research Agency (DERA) undertook the chemical analysis of seabed sediments and of fish samples as part of the study. The report concluded: “The results of the explosive and propellant residue and heavy metal analyses indicate that munitions dumping operations after both World Wars have not resulted in chemical contamination of the surface seabed sediments or the edible flesh of commercially exploited fish and shellfish species”.
The report can be found at the following link:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/uploads/documents/frsr1596.pdf
A second study was commissioned in 2005 by the MOD. Imperial College London were commissioned to undertake an independent study entitled: “Munitions Dumped at Sea: A Literature Review”; a copy of the report can be found at the following link.
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121203135425/http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/77CEDBCA-813A-4A6C-8E59-16B9E260E27A/0/ic_munitions_seabed_rep.pdf
The purpose of this study was to provide a “review of the relevant published studies and other relevant information on the current scientific opinion on munitions (both conventional and chemical) that have been disposed of by dumping on the sea bed”. The MOD continues to monitor international work to help inform our policy in this area; this includes the Helsinki Commission’s work in the relatively shallow Baltic Sea.

Chief of Defence Materiel

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on his Department’s accounts for 2011-12, what the reasons are for the time taken to gain approval from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury for the remuneration package of the Chief Defence Materiel. [133155]

Mr Francois: In July 2010, approval for the salary and bonus package of the Chief of Defence Materiel (CDM) was obtained. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) has not questioned that. However, the C&AG has viewed the payments made by the Department for CDM’s accommodation while working away from his permanent place of work as being “remuneration” and therefore outside the scope of the package approved by HM Treasury.
The Department is working on how the situation can be regularised.

Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to update assumptions on the future cost of fuel for the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft. [137972]

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence will next revisit its assessment of the future cost of fuel for the F

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