§ Mr. Dafis
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make it his policy to set a target date for the banning of the practice of dumping armaments at sea around the coast of the United Kingdom;
(2) if he will publish a list of all the sites utilised for dumping surplus armaments in the sea around the coast of the United Kingdom at present;
(3) what mechanisms are utilised by his Department to monitor sites used for the dumping of armaments at sea, including environmental effects;
(4) if he will publish a list of the materials contained in surplus armaments dumped around the coast of the United Kingdom over the last 10 years.
§ Mr. Aitken
Ministry of Defence will terminate all sea dumping of redundant ammunition and explosive stocks by 1 January 1993. This is in line with the Government's general policy that where safe and practicable waste should be disposed of on land, in preference to dumping at sea. Dumping is carried out in a strictly controlled manner to ensure that it does not cause damage to the marine environment, or interfere with fishing, or other legitimate uses of the sea. Preparation of stores for dumping includes the removal of components containing toxic heavy metals which are not permitted to be disposed of in this manner. There has been no sea dumping of redundant ammunition and explosive stocks around the coast of the United Kingdom during the last 10 years. The only dump site in use is some 400 miles off Lands End in the Atlantic at a depth of some 4,500 m. The depth of this site precludes effective monitoring but there is no evidence to suggest that controlled dumping of conventional ammunition and explosives in this manner constitutes a risk to the marine environment.