HC Deb 02 May 1995 vol 259 cc202-3W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those British companies which (i) have stockpiles of, (ii) are producing, (iii) have produced since 1965 and (iv) manufacture components for(a) anti-personnel mines, (b) area denial mines, (c) self-destruct mines and (d) other forms of mines; and in the case of (iii) if he will give the year in which production ceased.

Mr. Freeman

[holding answer 18 April 1995]: These matters are the responsibility of the companies concerned. However, I am advised that the following information can be provided from my Department's records.

My Department classifies land mines by their effect, for example, anti-tank or anti-personnel. Any type of land mine can be self-destructing. We therefore do not recognise area denial mines or self-destructing mines as separate categories.

My Department is not aware of any British company holding stockpiles of land mines.

The "Defence Manufacturers' Handbook" lists British Aerospace Defence, British Aerospace (Royal Ordnance), Hunting Engineering, and Plalite as having land mines among their products. My Department is not aware that any of these companies is currently producing land mines and I can confirm that there are no current MOD orders for land mines, nor are there any current export licence applications.

My Department believes that Thorn EMI Electronics, Royal Ordnance and Hunting Engineering are the only British companies to have produced land mines since 1965.

Production of conventional anti-personnel land mines for the MOD ceased in 1983, and of anti-tank land mines in 1991.

In 1986 the Royal Ordnance factories produced a small number of projector area defence weapons for my Department. Previously, these were classified not as anti-personnel land mines, but as command-detonated point defence weapons. However, further research has now established that these weapons fall within the standard NATO definition of a land mine. Consequently, previous statements that the UK has not produced anti-personnel mines for over a decade are not accurate in relation to the PJRAD.

My Department is not aware of any British companies which currently manufacture components for land mines.