HL Deb 03 May 2001 vol 625 cc134-5WA
Lord Vivian

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What field training and army exercises have been delayed or cancelled in Canada, British Forces Germany and the United Kingdom due to foot and mouth disease. [HL1791]

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

All routine training on military training areas and on private land in Great Britain was suspended on 23 February 2001, until further notice, owing to the current outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease. The only activity which has continued on military training areas has been pre-operational tour training to ensure that no soldier has been sent on operations without the appropriate training.

Since the end of March, we have been able to lift restrictions on some 40 low risk training facilities in Great Britain to allow other high priority training to proceed. In addition, limited dismounted infantry training and artillery firing is about to resume on Salisbury Plain Training Area. Each of the sites that have been opened again has been agreed specifically with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF). The overall suspension of training is under constant review by the MoD in concert with MAFF and the ban will be relaxed further as the situation across the country allows.

In Germany, similar restrictions on training were placed on the Bundeswehr, the British Army and all other Armed Forces by the German authorities on 16 March 2001.

It would not be practical to list all the exercises cancelled since the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease as all routine training has been suspended. However, the first of this year's exercises at the British Army Training Unit Suffield in Canada, Exercise Medicine Man 1, is among those that have been cancelled.