HC Deb 12 February 1997 vol 290 cc180-1W
Mr. Llew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list each of the supplier companies to his Department for(a) anti-personnel mines and (b) anti-tank/armoured vehicle mines since 1979; and if he will list the countries to which these companies have exported mines since 1979. [13527]

Mr. Arbuthnot

Available records indicate that the following companies/organisations have, since 1979, met orders from my Department for:

  1. (a) anti-personnel mines: Thorn-EMI, Royal Ordnance, the United States Department of Defence and Alliant Techsystems of the United States;
  2. (b) anti-tank/armoured vehicle mines: Royal Ordnance, Hunting Engineering Ltd. Alliant Techsystems, the MLRS European Production Group, and GIAT Industries and SOFMA of France.

I understand that export licence records before 1991 are not readily available to the Department of Trade and Industry and could be researched only at disproportionate cost. An initial search by DTI of export licence records since 1991 has shown that anti-tank/armoured vehicle mine records are not immediately identifiable and I am advised that the research required to examine the records further could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost. It is clear from earlier research, however, that no mines considered to be anti-personnel mines at the time of export have been exported for over a decade. Records available in my own Department, which may not be definitive, indicate that mines considered at the time of export to fall into one or other of the two categories identified have been exported as follows:

  1. (a) Anti-personnel mines: by Thorn-EMI to Nigeria in 1981;
  2. (b) Anti-tank/armoured vehicle mines: by UK companies to two other countries in 1982 and 1991.

Detailed information on these cannot be provided, since its release would cause harm in terms of one or more of the defence, security, international relations and commercial confidence exemptions in the code of practice on access to Government information. These were the exemptions in the code referred to in my answer to the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Spring) on 23 July 1996, Official Report, column 212.

I am not in a position to provide information regarding exports by non-UK companies.

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