HL Deb 05 March 2001 vol 623 cc10-1WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What arrangements they are making to ensure that while depleted uranium remains in service in NATO the time and exact locations of its use are invariably recorded. [HL753]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)

This is not a matter for NATO, but for each NATO nation. In respect of the UK, depleted uranium munitions are used by the Royal Navy and the Army.

Royal Navy units are required to submit a signalled report to Flag Officer Surface Flotilla on completion of all firings, noting what ammunition and in what quantity and where fired. The ship will also note its latitude and longitude in the ship's log.

In the case of land-based depleted uranium munitions, test firings of depleted uranium rounds are conducted under controlled conditions at our ranges at Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway. Depleted uranium rounds are not used by the Army for training purposes. On operations, when such munitions are fired from Challenger 2, the tank may well be under attack and on the move and it would therefore be impossible to establish with any certainty the exact location where any rounds land. The tank commander will know how many rounds he has fired and he will be able to work out retrospectively into what general area he fired a DU round.

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