HL Deb 11 November 1999 vol 606 cc192-3WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

(a) How many anti-personnel mines and (b) how many devices which could be used as anti-personnel mines are currently stocked in the United Kingdom; to whom they belong; and how such stocks relate to the United Kingdom Government's policy on the use of such weapons. [HL4410]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

On 27 August this year the UK submitted its first report to the UN Secretary General on compliance measures under the Ottawa Convention. The report states that the UK, at 1 August 1999, held 4,437 anti-personnel mines (APMs) for training and testing purposes as permitted under Article 3 of the Convention. A copy of this report, with full details of all current UK holdings of APMs, has been placed in the Library of the House. The UK holds no APMs as defined under Ottawa apart from those detailed in the report and retained for training and testing, in de-mining techniques.

The last of over 1 million UK operational APMs were destroyed on 19 October 1999, three years ahead of the deadline required by the Ottawa Convention. UK APMs held for training and testing in de-mining techniques, are entirely consistent with the Ottawa Convention. They allow UK forces to continue to develop and deploy counter measures to APMs and to deal safely and effectively with any they may encounter during operations. The results of this work can also provide valuable information to humanitarian de-mining organisations, either through improvements in de-mining techniques or through the development of new equipment. Wherever possible, we share such developments with these organisations to assist them in their work. This is another instance of the UK leading international efforts to combat these weapons.