HL Deb 27 November 2003 vol 655 cc9-10WA
Lord Howie of Troon

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to rationalise the number of Defence Science and Technology Laboratory sites. [HL71]

Lord Bach

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) will reduce the number of sites on which it operates to three core sites: Fort Halstead in Kent, Porton Down in Wiltshire, and Portsdown West, near Portsmouth in Hampshire. Approximately 1,400 Dstl staff, who are currently geographically dispersed, from Farnborough in Hampshire, Malvern in Worcestershire, and Winfrith in Dorset, as well as other minor sites, will relocate to the three core sites over the next few years. The programme is likely to be completed in 2007.

Among the benefits that will accrue to Dstl and MoD are increased technical synergy and coherence; improved operational effectiveness; better integration of teams; enhanced development opportunities and career prospects for staff; and reduced overhead costs.

The MoD has undertaken a regional impact assessment to assess the effect on staff and local communities. This particularly supports the move of staff to Portsmouth, an area of economic deprivation. Of the options open to Dstl, the plans are most consistent with the aims of the review of public sector relocation being undertaken by Sir Michael Lyons on behalf of the Chancellor and Deputy Prime Minister, and have been approved by the Treasury.