HC Deb 18 July 1995 vol 263 cc1175-6W
Mr. Livingstone

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 5 July,Official Report, column 274, if he will place in the Library copies of the 21 safety audits with the classified information removed. [35607]

Mr. Arbuthnot

This is a matter for the chief executive of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. I have therefore asked him to reply.

Letter front John Chisholm to Mr. Ken Livingstone, dated 18 July 1995: Your Question to the Secretary of State of Defence asking if copies of the safety Aduits with the classified information removed will be placed in the Library has been passed on to me to reply as the Chief Executive of the Defence evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) which now includes the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment (CBDE) as one of its Divisions. The Safety Audits of CBDE by the Ministry of Defence are valuable because they deal in a frank and detailed manner with a range of complex safety issues. Publication of the reports would he unhelpful, not only because the removal of classified information would make the documents unbalanced and possibly unintelligible, but also because the knowledge of publication would inevitably affect to the content of reports. For these reasons I am not prepared to publish even edited Audits in the way you suggest. I am sorry I could not be more helpful.