The United Kingdom Centre for Medical Research and Innovation

Do you want this potential terrorist target to be in the centre of London?

November 11, 2012
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The United Kingdom Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) was granted planning permission for a research laboratory on 16 December 2007 . This is a consortium comprised of the Medical Research Council (a taxpayers funded body) , Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and University College London which is part of London University. The Laboratory is now named the Francis Crick Institute and building is underway on a site directly behind the British Library in central London.

If built the research centre will be handling dangerous viruses which are permitted under a level 3 biohazard licence, viz:

“Biohazard Level 3: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.”

The Medical Research Council currently handles even more toxic viruses n their Mill Hill site, namely, those which are permitted under a level 4 biohazard licence, viz.:

“Biohazard Level 4: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic diseases.”

To place such research on the site would be criminally irresponsible under any circumstances even if both the physical security and biohazard hygiene were first rate because of the risks of a terrorist attack. However, there can be no rational public confidence that will be the case because UKCMRI have persistently refused to give any details about how their security arrangements will be handled, even in terms which would not compromise their security, such as saying whether armed guards will be used or even whether the security will be directly employed by the consortium or sub-contracted out. There will also be groups working within the centre who are not directly working for the consortium and the public will have access to some areas. To undertake the building of the centre under these circumstances would not be merely criminally reckless but touch the confines of lunacy.

There are also issues with the disruption caused by building and the contamination of the bidding process for the site by Gordon Brown, who interfered with the process even before the formal bidding period was ended. Details of these issues can be found in my objection to the planning application which forms the first posts in the blog, as well as the detailed objections on security grounds. All the objections to the planning application which require proof are supported by documents.

Write to your MP and complain. Raise a stink wherever you can.


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Links to all UKCRMI blog posts

November 11, 2012
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Just click on the post title and it will take you to that post
The new leader of the Greens knows how to keep mum
MPs back £660million medical research superlab
UKCRMI to become The Francis Crick Institute
MPs back £660million medical research superlab
New Scientist reports on the Science and Technology Committee’s reservations about UKCRMI’s location
Notification of the contamination of the bidding process to the lead contractor
O’Rourke wins prized £350m superlab contract
Report and commentary on the STC hearing of 2nd March 2011
The failed bidders notified that the bidding process was a sham
Gordon Brown’s involvement in the sale of the land to UKCRMI
Science and Technology Committee – Evidence from ministers about UKCRMI
Report and commentary on the STC hearing of 16 February 2011
Report and commentary on the STC hearing of 9 February 2011
Choosing the short list of bidders
The full list of bidders
Science and Technology Committee – Next UKCRMI evidence
Science and Technology Committee 9 February 2011
No 10 ‘interfered to push through £600m plan for virus superlab’
Notification of planning irregularities to Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson gives the go-ahead to UKCMRI laboratory
My submission to the Science and Technology Committee has been accepted
Camden’s response to my notification of planning permission irregularities
A list of the bidders for the Brill Place site
Letter submitted to the Camden New Journal 2 January 2011
Correspondence with Councillors about the vote
How councillors voted on the UKCMRI planning application
Councillors asked directly about who voted and how
The Evening Standard on security
Which councillors voted which way?
Challenge to the granting of planning permision
Objection to UKCMRI planning application for a research centre in Brill Place London NW1
Objection to planning application supporting documents

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