Feeds

Science MPs horrified by UK bio-lab management

Porton Downer

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

MPs have painted a embarrassing picture of the UK’s bio research facilities, describing some labs as “shabby” and “deplorable” after years of underinvestment and neglect.

The Innovations, Universities, Science and Skills committee launched its investigation after the foot and mouth outbreak in Surrey last year, which was eventually traced to a leaky drain at the Institute of Animal Health at Pirbright.

If anyone thought the situation at Pirbright was a one-off, they’ll be disappointed. The report uncovered shortcomings in the way capacity for high containment research (i.e. boffins playing around with scary scary stuff) is provided.

While Porton Down’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory was described as “world class” and “state of the art”, others including the Health Protection Agency site at at Porton Down, and the IAH, were “in need of significant investment given their age”.

The committee identified a “striking lack of co-ordination between organisations who sponsor and run high containment laboratories,” with no one minister having a “strategic overview” of the systems.

Unsurprisingly there were also shortcomings in the funding for the system, particularly for ongoing maintenance. So it’s no surprise that the UK’s most recent foot and mouth outbreak was down to something as mundane as a leaky drain at Pirbright.

The committee made a number of recommendations, including the shocking idea that there should be “complete clarity” over who is in charge of biosecurity, “especially” on sites of “mixed ownership or sponsorship such as at Pirbright”.

Such a “controlling mind” must be “clearly identified and be expected to manage the risks that it creates”, the committee said.

And, into the bargain, the committee reckons “the Government should know the location, capacity and capability of all high containment laboratories in the UK”.

The full report can be found here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.