§ Mr. Sanders
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research he has undertaken into the effects of submarine sonar on the behaviour and health of cetaceans; and if he will make a statement on the conclusions of the research. 
§ Dr. Moonie
The Ministry of Defence is undertaking a range of research projects into the effects of both submarine and surface ship sonar on the behaviour and health of cetaceans. This research is intended to inform the Ministry of Defence's conduct of Environment Appraisals and Environmental Impact Assessments, as required by the Secretary of State for Defence's Policy Statement of 7 July 2000 on the Management of Safety and Environmental Protection in the Ministry of Defence. That Policy Statement requires Environmental Impact Assessments to be conducted for all new equipment projects. A copy of the Policy Statement, together with a chapter on the conduct of Environmental Appraisal and Environmental Impact Assessment, can be found in the Ministry of Defence's Environmental Manual, JSP 418 which is in the Library of the House.69W
The reason for the research programme is that, to date, it has not been possible to put forward any definitive conclusions on the effects of differing acoustic energy on marine mammals. The research, which is ongoing, has not yet reached any conclusion. In addition to the research, Environmental Impact Assessments undertaken by the Ministry of Defence in respect of this subject will also be informed by evidence from leading experts both in the United Kingdom and the United States. We are also monitoring relevant scientific and environmental research around the globe on this issue.
§ Mr. Sanders
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to monitor the effects on cetaceans of the use of sonar in antisubmarine warfare operations. 
§ Dr. Moonie
It is Ministry of Defence policy to consider the effects of sonar use on cetaceans. An environmental impact assessment is undertaken prior to all new projects and training activities. The way in which the equipment is then used during each subsequent training activity takes the assessment into account. Trials are preceded by a detailed environmental study of the operating area concerned. The operating area continues to be monitored while the trials are under way, and the activity is managed to minimize the potential impacts on cetaceans. Mitigation methods based on best scientific advice, such as acoustic and visual monitoring in accordance with Government and Joint Nature Conservation Committee published guidelines adapted for military use, are used so that the activity will be modified, delayed or moved as necessary.
These measures provide a balance between the requirement for essential trials work and training, and the equally important need to avoid causing any significant adverse effect on the marine environment.