The United Kingdom Centre for Medical Research and Innovation

What this blog is about

This blog has been set up to provide information about a specific problem, namely, the building of  a massive research centre dealing with dangerous toxins  very  near  to the prime terrorist targets of the Eurostar terminal and the  British Library  in an area with a good deal of residential property  the width of a narrow road from the proposed site  -the site is  directly behind the British Library (to the north of the BL) and a  road’s width from the Eurostar terminal to the east. 

The United Kingdom Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) was granted planning permission for the research centre on 16 December.  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.    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.

If anyone has links to other websites or blogs or additional information they would like to post on the blog which they think would be relevant, please let me know by emailing me on

 Robert Henderson    16 December 2010


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