HC Deb 27 April 1982 vol 22 cc253-4W
Mr. Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in view of the advice he has received from the building and civil engineering committee of the Economic Development Council, he is now in a position to announce his decision on the future status of the Building Research Establishment.

Mr. Heseltine

As my right hon. Friend rightly says I have received advice from the building and civil engineering committees of the Economic Development Council for which I am most grateful. I would like to pay tribute to Sir Peter Trench and the working party he has chaired for the thorough way in which they have examined the whole question of construction research, its organisation and funding.

On the basis of this and other advice I have now made certain decisions about the future of the Building Research Establishment. Firstly, I have accepted the EDC's proposal that a board should be created to assist in the management of the BRE. I will announce the membership and terms of reference of this board later. Secondly, means to allow a greater element of freedom for BRE cost recovery will be explored and the board will be invited to assist BRE to develop its cost recovery activities.

I welcome the EDC's recommendation that it should set up a research strategy committee to look across the board at research needs in construction with the aim of stimulating greater integration between those funding and undertaking research and giving in the medium term more coherence to the totality of the efforts in this area. I shall be pleased to take their advice on relevant parts of my Department's research programme.