RAF Leeming (Security)

Defence written question – answered on 4th February 2004.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) whether there were breaches of security at RAF Leeming during the evening of 29 November and early morning of 30 November 2003; and whether an unauthorised person was able to approach within about 50 m of the vehicles of the Nuclear Weapons Convoy while parked at RAF Leeming;

(2) how his Department keeps under review the protection and security arrangements at RAF Leeming; if he will make available the outcome and recommendations of such reviews; and if he will make a statement;

(3) whether the convoy of road vehicles used in the transportation of nuclear warheads to and from RNAD Coulport and the Atomic Weapons Establishments in Berkshire stopped overnight at RAF Leeming on the night of 29 and 30 November 2003; and whether it was carrying nuclear warheads;

(4) whether for the transport and storage of fissile materials the United Kingdom adopts the security and protection standards prescribed by IAEA INFCIRC/225 Rev 4;

(5) whether, in addition to IAEA INFCIRC/225, his Department applies further safeguards during transit and storage of nuclear warheads that are equivalent to the United States Department of Energy's stored weapons standard;

(6) if he will make a statement on security at RAF stations.

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

I can confirm that an unauthorised person gained entry to RAF Leeming while a convoy of military vehicles stopped overnight on 29 November 2003 at the base. The person was subsequently escorted off the premises by the Ministry of Defence Police. In accordance with Government policy, I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons at any particular place or time. Security at MOD establishments, including RAF Leeming, is kept under constant review. It would not be appropriate to disclose details of security reviews or their recommendations and I am therefore withholding the information requested under Exemption 1a of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

However, stringent security and protection standards are applied by the MOD whenever United Kingdom Defence Nuclear Materials are used, stored and transported. These security standards are compatible with IAEA INFCIR/225, and the MOD applies further safeguards during transit and storage of nuclear warheads, which are equivalent to the standards applied by the United States Department of Energy to their nuclear warheads.

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