HC Deb 28 June 1988 vol 136 c181
5. Mr. Graham

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current total value of military equipment held in his Department's stores; and what resources his Department devotes to safeguarding these stores against fire.

Mr. Freeman

The most recent estimate of the value of stocks held in major stores depots is approximately £10 billion. Fire prevention measures include dispersal and segregation of stocks; provision of fire control equipment, such as fire mains and hydrants; automatic fire detection and suppression systems; and our own fire brigades, where appropriate.

Mr. Graham

Is the Minister aware that after the fire at Donnington a number of recommendations were not implemented before there was a second fire? Will he assure us that he will instruct his Department fully to implement safety proposals in all Ministry of Defence stores so that people can sleep safely and comfortably at night?

Mr. Freeman

I assure the hon. Gentleman that all the personnel at our military units, and, indeed, any civilians nearby, can sleep safely at night. After the 1983 fire all the recommendations made by the military board of inquiry were acted upon. After the fire at Donnington a few months ago, a military board of inquiry was set up to examine just how many and to what degree the recommendations made in 1983 were properly implemented. I look forward, as do all my colleagues at the Ministry of Defence, to receiving the report of that board of inquiry.

Sir Michael McNair-Wilson

What is the annual wastage from Ministry of Defence establishments as a result of fire or other damage?

Mr. Freeman

Over the past 10 years I estimate that the wastage figure has been about £50 million per annum, but, of course, that must be set in the context of stores valued at about £10 billion.

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