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900 jobs relocated after Public Health England labs confirm move to Essex

Public Health England's labs are moving from Wiltshire, to Essex, Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed.

The £350m move will force 900 workers to relocate to the new lab facility in Harlow.

The Porton Down laboratories are currently used by Public Health England to analyse disease. The government research centre will now move to a former GlaxoSmithKline site in Essex.

Salisbury MP John Glen has previously argued against the relocation, claiming that many staff didn’t want to move. But following the Chancellor’s announcement, the Wiltshire MP says he welcomed the decision to support a task force for Porton.

The new PHE facilities will create a centre for research, health improvement and protection working on global health threats, such as Ebola.

Salisbury MP wants to save Porton Down lab

The Conservative MP for Salisbury John Glen said it did not make sense to move the Public Health England labs from Porton Down in Wiltshire to Harlow in Essex:

Mr Glen has proposed a public-private partnership to raise investment to refurbish the site (formerly known as the Health Protection Agency) so that the expertise can remain in the area, alongside a new science park.


800 jobs at risk at Porton Down lab

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down. Credit: Chris Ison/PA

The future of 800 jobs at the Health Protection Agency in Wiltshire has been discussed in Parliament.

The site is used to research and test vaccines.

The Health Protection Agency said the 50 year old site at Porton Down had reached the end of its life and wanted to relocate to Essex.

The Salisbury MP, John Glen, is campaigning to keep jobs in the county.

Animal experimentation on the increase at Porton Down

An increasing number of tests are being carried out on monkeys and pigs at the military research laboratory Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive

Almost 10,000 animal experiments have been carried at a military research laboratory in Wiltshire.

The number of tests conducted on monkeys and pigs at Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory has been on the increase since 2009.

Most of these fall into the "substantial severity" category, meaning the experiments may cause significant or prolonged suffering to animals.

The details were disclosed in a series of written answers from junior defence minister Philip Dunne in Parliament.