Third UKCMRI Lab Parliamentary Hearing ReportTagged as: bioresearch biotechnology cuts environmentalism pharmaceuticals
Neighbourhoods: camden euston king's_cross somers_town st_pancras
The third hearing for the Science and Technology Parliamentary Inquiry into the highly controversial UKCMRI proposed bioresearch laboratory took place on 2nd March, at Portcullis House - more below.....
The third hearing for the Parliamentary Inquiry took place on 2nd March, 2011. Committee MPs questioned David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health.
MP Committee members present were: Andrew Miller (Chair), Labour (Ellesmere Port and Neston), Stephen Metcalfe, Conservative (South Basildon), Stephen Mosley, Conservative (City of Chester), Pamela Nash, Labour (Airdrie and Shotts), Graham Stringer, Labour (Blackley and Broughton), Stephen MacPartland, Conservative (Stevenage) and Gavin Barwell, Conservative (Croydon Central), who also happens to be "paired" with the daughter of Chief Executive and Director, UKCMRI Ltd, Paul Nurse, in the Royal Society "Pairing Scheme" - which as stated on their website "helps to build bridges between parliamentarians, civil servants and some of the best science research workers in the UK" and very recently, on the same day of the last hearing, 16th February, Gavin Barwell led a delegation from Croydon to meet David Willetts to seek his support for a project in Croydon.
Subjects of questions included: would the taxpayer be expected to pay for overruns, has provision of housing been sacrificed, proposed central London location, possible impacts on other science budgets and parts of UK. Link here to video of hearing - starts at around 1:51:00. Link here to uncorrected transcript of evidence.
A remarkable range of skills was demonstrated, including: expertise at avoiding questions, a flair for going off at tangents, turning vagueness into an art form and sales techniques that would surely be the envy of many used car salesmen. Future careers as Dragon's Den contestants?
BACKGROUND: The government has offered £220 million of public money towards a proposal to build an enormous bioresearch laboratory complex alongside St Pancras International Station, planned to handle "Biosafety Level 3" extremely dangerous pathogens in 79,000 square metres of building, eight storeys above ground and four storeys below ground, on land behind the British Library, at a time of brutal cutbacks. It has been approved at a Camden Council Committee meeting and Boris Johnson has approved the plans. A group of Camden campaigners St Pancras and Somers Town Planning Action are opposing this.