HC Deb 26 June 1990 vol 175 c127W
Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will discuss with the Governments of France and West Germany the means of continuing taxonomic support for teams working in Malaysia and Cameroon in the light of staff reductions at the natural history museum.

Mrs. Chalker

[holding answer 19 June 1990]: In common with many other Government-funded institutions, including national museums and galleries, the natural history museum is now expected to develop its ability to attract non-Exchequer revenue. The work referred to in Malaysia and Cameroon yields no financial remuneration to the museum, and the museum authorities consider that it will be more appropriate to develop research projects in those countries in collaboration with the ODA's executive agency—the Natural Resources Institute—and with other external funding agencies. I shall be keeping in view the museum's progress to that end, but I have no plans at present to discuss the matter with the French and West German Governments.

Mr Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications of reductions in the Heteroptera section of the natural history museum for work sponsored by his Department(a) in Surinam on shield-bugs as transmitters of agricultural diseases and (b) coccid research and its agricultural implications for United Kingdom supported agricultural development programmes.

Mrs. Chalker

[holding answer 19 June 1990]: My Department is not funding any work in Surinam on shield-bugs, nor is it commissioning any research on coccids. There are specialists on both insect groups working at the natural history museum for the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux International's institute of entomology, without any duplication of effort as the range of insect species is so vast. I do not anticipate that the planned staff reductions at the museum will have a serious impact on agricultural development programmes supported by the United Kingdom. However ODA's Natural Resources Institute will be continuing to discuss with the museum and the institute of entomology the future of taxonomic and identification needs in support of agricultural development and pest management programmes funded by my Department.