§ Mr. Flynn
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what volumes and what types of chemical warfare agents are maintained at the Porton Down chemical warfare research establishment as part of his Department's defensive prophylactic research programme; when the entire stocks of these chemical warfare agents will be destroyed; and under what conditions.
§ Mr. Neubert
As has frequently been stated in previous answers, the MOD does not possess a chemical warfare research establishment. The role of the Chemical Defence Establishment, Porton Down, is to provide effective protective measures for the United Kingdom Armed Forces against the threat that chemical or biological weapons may be used against them. The United Kingdom abandoned all offensive chemical warfare work over 30 years ago.
As stated in my predecessor's reply to the hon. Member on 25 January at column 653, the MOD holds small experimental quantities of agent, for research into protective measures against chemical and biological attack.
These small quantities will be maintained for as long as necessary. As stated in my predecessor's reply to the hon. Member on 23 March at column 754, the MOD does not disclose details of the location of these small quantities for security reasons.