§ Mr. Charles Kennedy
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the reason was for the issuing of stable iodine tablets to members of the public living near the nuclear submarine berths at Loch Ewe and in Broadford Bay; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Ingram
There is a berth at Aultbea (Loch Ewe) and a second at Broadford Bay that are designated as suitable for visits by operational nuclear-powered warships. Under the Radiation Emergency Preparedness and Public Information Regulations 2001 (REPPIR 2001), local authorities have responsibility for preparing an off-site emergency plan in the vicinity of such berths. Decisions on the distribution of Potassium Iodate Tablets form part of this planning activity.
The purpose of emergency planning is to ensure that procedures are in place to maximise public safety. Following a review, Wester Loch Ewe Community 1180W Council in consultation with NHS Highlands and Islands and the Northern Constabulary, and with advice from the Ministry of Defence, decided that the most practical and efficient means of ensuring that Potassium Iodate Tablets are readily available, in the very unlikely event of a nuclear incident at the Aultbea and Broadford Bay berths, would be to pre-distribute the tablets to the local population. The tablets have been distributed by the MOD, on behalf of the local authorities, to all properties, private and commercial, within a two kilometre radius of Aultbea and Broadford Bay within the last two weeks.