§ Mrs. Angela Knight
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to make a statement on the future organisation and location of his Central Science Laboratory. 
§ Mr. Waldegrave
The Central Science Laboratory currently occupies five major sites at Slough, Berkshire; Worplesdon, Surrey; Harpenden, Hertfordshire; Norwich,2W Norfolk and Tony, Aberdeen and a number of smaller sites including those at Luddington, Warwickshire and Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.
CSL provides essential services within Great Britain to MAFF and other Government Departments to promote the safe and efficient supply of food and to protect the environment. In order to ensure that it continues to do so on a cost-effective basis and to overcome serious shortcomings in the buildings on the older CSL sites, a new laboratory complex is under construction near York. This will be available for occupation in the summer of 1996. It has been known for some time that the staff and facilities at the CSL sites apart from Norwich and Tony would relocate to York with the subsequent closure of the sites.
I have announced today the financial and other targets that I have set for CSL in 1995–96. The CSL will not achieve cost recovery in 1995–96 and action needs to be taken to ensure that a deficit does not occur in future years.
Accordingly, it is my intention that the CSL Tony laboratory will also relocate to York in September 1996. Unfortunately, the Torry site has very high overheads and the laboratory there has not been able to compete successfully in the research and development market and will operate at a loss in 1995–96.
I have agreed with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland to transfer to the Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen, responsibility for a range of work on the monitoring of algal toxins in shellfish and water and the analytical capability for hydrocarbons, both areas of particular relevance to Scotland. I will also ask my officials to explore with the business, academic and research community in Aberdeen any future opportunities for the site. Much of the work which my Department commissions at CSL Tony is subject to open competition and I would welcome interest from scientific establishments in Scotland as well as elsewhere. Officials will explore the further in the light of any interest which emerges.
All mobile staff at the Tony site will have the opportunity to relocate to York, and some are likely to be transfer to the Scottish Office marine laboratory at Aberdeen. I am hopeful therefore that closure can be managed without any compulsory redundancies among these staff. Arrangements for seeking job opportunities for non-mobile staff among other Government establishments in the area will be operated in the usual way.
There are no plans to relocate the CSL Norwich laboratory which is competing successfully on a national and EU basis for science funding.
Overall, my aim is to ensure that these changes will mean no diminution in the service provided to all parts of Great Britain, including Scotland.
§ Mrs. Angela Knight
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what targets have been set for the Central Science Laboratory in 1995–96. 3W
§ Mr. Waldegrave
I have set the Central Science Laboratory the following strategic targets for 1995–96:
- —97 per cent. recovery of full costs after allowing for relocation costs
- —1 per cent. improvement in utilisation of productive time
- —1 per cent. improvement of ratio of overhead to total costs
- —at least 90 per cent. of work completed to time and within budget
- —achieve a mean score of three on a scale of zero to five for the assessment of customer satisfaction using the established methodology.
These are demanding targets which challenge the agency but reflect the considerable planning and disruption likely to arise from the relocation to a new purpose built laboratory in Yorkshire which will occur during 1996.