What the problem is

In 2007 the UK Government sold public land situated behind the British Library in Somers Town, Camden, London, UK - to a consortium made up of the Medical Research Council, University College London, Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust, for them to build a potentially high risk UK centre for medical research and innovation. Many local residents had hoped the land would be used to build new affordable housing and facilities for the community.

Residents across the borough are horrified by such a dangerous, largely secretive establishment being build, and are fiercely opposing the development.

The development has also caused outrage from residents across the London Boroughs as well as nation wide, who object strongly to the cruel and outdated use of animals in medical/scientific experimentation.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Truth about Gladys Hammond

The below link brings you to a site that makes for interesting reading about the widely reported case of the animal rights campaigners who according to various reports where responsible (amongst all their other alleged crimes) for digging up a grave and removing the body of Gladys Hammond. An example HERE of the mainstream reporting of the case from the Guardian newspaper.


The Daily Mail newspaper recently published a story that implicated animal rights campaigners
being behind the sabotage of a well known brand of over the counter pain relief tablets. Heres what the newspaper said "Yesterday the Daily Mail reported that animal activists could be behind the sabotage operation with the intention of damaging Reckitt Benckiser. It is thought the company may have been targeted because it tests products on animals"

No other reports ( that i'm aware of) mentions who is thought to be responsible for the sabotage.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Government Consultation on EC Directive

The Home Office HERE , is consulting on The European Council DIRECTIVE 2010/63/EU of 22 September 2010 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks until 5 September 2011.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Report of the Science & Technology Committee

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Report into the UK Centre for Medical Research & Innovation (UKCMRI) HERE

The Science and Technology Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Government Office for Science and associated public bodies.

Exerts from the report:

10 Conclusions

164. We consider that the UK requires a Centre for Medical Research and Innovation. We agree with and commend the scientific vision for the UKCMRI.

165. Our predecessor Committee's estimation of the UKCMRI was correct: it is an exciting project which could bring significant benefits to life sciences in the UK and, indeed, to the world but it does carry a number of risks.

We have examined two areas which our predecessors considered needed careful monitoring: the management structure and the funding of UKCMRI.

166. However, we remain unconvinced that the location at Brill Place is the only suitable location and that the physical links described, i.e. face to face collaboration are as important or as likely as they have been described to us.

167. While we accept that the plans are now highly unlikely to change, we consider it is fair to say that the cost of construction is higher at St Pancras than any viable alternative site.

The combination of high land value and the construction challenges means that the cost of building the centre, before equipping and staffing it, will be the best part of £650 million. This high cost is being justified on the basis that by placing the Centre in central London it will create better physical links with other London based institutions. Whilst we see some logic in this, we remain unconvinced that, in these financially stringent times, the high cost of building the UKCMRI in central London outweighs the benefits of these links.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Rally Against the Lab 18 May 2011

Rally Against the Lab!
(It’s stupidly sited beside St Pancras Station)

As cuts bite deeper, the truth gets clearer:
SUPERLAB = super WASTE + high RISK

United Kingdom Centre for Medical Research and Innovation will cost £660 million- £220 million from government and take 6 years before research begins.


Why move research from the world famous Medical Research Centre on 46 acres at Mill Hill (with a level 4 virus capacity) to the 3.6 acres at St Pancras where it can do less work (Level 3 plus) with no room for expansion??? It will risk terrorist attacks, disruption from demonstrations, and a possible spillage that could infect the local population and spread to Europe.

Meet at 6pm Wednesday May 18 in Purchese Street Open Space
(corner of Midland Road and Brill Place NW1).

Help us spread awareness of this reckless, wasteful project
SPA (St Pancras and Somers Town Planning Action) 020 7387 4942
07967417859 stpanstplanningaction@gmail.com


Saturday, 12 February 2011

HOC Science & Technology Committee

HoC Science and Technology Committee

Meeting started on Wednesday 9 February at 9.26am ended at 11.18am

UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation


  1. Professor Malcolm Grant, President and Provost, University College London, Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive, Cancer Research UK, Professor Sir John Savill, Chief Executive, Medical Research Council, and Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive, Wellcome Trust
  2. Natalie Bennett, Chair, Rob Inglis, Press Officer, and Frankie Biney, local resident, St Pancras and Somers Town Planning Action
Click HERE for webcast of meeting

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Call for an Inquiry

London Evening Standard

No 10 ‘interfered to push through £600m plan for virus superlab’

January 20, 2011

Mark Blunden
20 Jan 2011

Campaigners against a maximum security “superlab” in the heart of London are calling for a parliamentary inquiry claiming that there was political interference in the bidding process.

The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, behind the British Library in St Pancras, will be capable of containing flu viruses, malaria, tuberculosis, cancer cells and HIV.

Residents living close to the centre are calling for an inquiry into the £600 million project after Cabinet Office emails, seen by the Standard, revealed that the previous government was keen to “make it happen” before the tendering process had closed.

They also claim Camden council failed to inform residents fully of the severity of the diseases to be tested at the 3.6 acre site and is stonewalling their questions.

Today, it can be revealed that in July 2007, Jeremy Heywood, a Cabinet Office civil servant, emailed officials, including the Department of Health and the Chief Scientific Officer, stating: “The PM (Gordon Brown) is very keen to make sure the government departments are properly co-ordinated on this project – and that if there is a consensus that this is indeed an exciting project, then we do what we can to make it happen.”

The email, released under the Freedom of Information Act, was sent the week before the first bids were due in and six weeks before the shortlist was finalised.

Other documents reveal that among 27 competing proposals for the site were a multi-faith centre and hundreds of affordable homes in a borough with 18,000 people on its housing waiting list. Both of these proposals complied with Camden’s brief for the site, but it is alleged the superlab initially did not.

Resident Robert Henderson, a retired civil servant, 63, said: “Camden went against their own original plan for a mixed-use development.

“There’s been political interference with the bidding process as well as the grave security issues. There should be a parliamentary inquiry because £250 million of public money is at stake.”

Camden council strongly denies there was any government influence over the tendering process.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, approved the research centre on Friday, saying it would attract "the best scientific minds to the capital".

The consortium behind it includes the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust. There is no suggestion of any wrong-doing over the tendering process.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Camden Council gives Permission

On 16 December 2010, Camden Councils Development Control committee by a majority of 4, voted in favour of granting planning permission to the UKCRMI.

The committee voted 8 in favour, 4 against & 1 abstained.


Claire-Louise Leyland, Conservative (Belsize)

Paul Braithwaite, Liberal Democrat (Cantelowes)

Sean Birch, Labour (Gospel Oak)

Matt Sanders, Liberal Democrat (Haverstock).


Milena Nuti, Labour (Bloomsbury)

Sue Vincent, Labour (Holborn and Covent Garden)

Sarah Hayward, Labour (King’s Cross)

Roger Freeman, Conservative (Swiss Cottage)

Heather Johnson, Labour (Regent’s Park)

Andrew Marshall, Conservative (Swiss Cottage)

Gillian Risso-Gill, Liberal Democrat (West Hampstead)

Jenny Headlam-Wells, Labour (Kentish Town).


Flick Rea, Liberal Democrat (Fortune Green)

Those present but failing to register any vote (including failing to abstain)

Thomas Neuwark, Labour (Camden Town with Primrose Hill)


Georgia Gould, Labour (Kentish Town)

Valerie Leach, Labour (Highgate)

Friday, 10 December 2010

Huge Security Plan


Huge security plan to protect virus superlab from terrorists

Mark Blunden

Security around a “superlab” planned next door to a major London railway station will be among the tightest in the capital amid fears of “domestic extremism”.

Sensitive documents detailing protection for one of Europe's biggest bio-medical research centres, which will specialise in fighting influenza, show it includes anti-car bomb devices.

Camden council is asking for a passport or driving licence as proof of identification before showing residents planning documents for the £600 million site behind St Pancras station.

The glass, brick and metal UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation will be secured to “biosafety level three-plus”.

It will be capable of containing flu viruses, malaria and tuberculosis, plus cancer and HIV to become a “global centre of research excellence”.

Campaigners fear the site, which is also close to hundreds of homes, could pose a risk to public health if airborne viruses escape from the building, which the centre denies.

Opponents are also concerned the huge building near the British Library could become a terrorist target and the focal point for protests against Home Office-licensed animal testing.

The “security management plan”, seen by the Evening Standard, identifies crime, terrorism and “domestic extremism” as concerns. It states: “Potential security risks may arise from domestic extremism — potentially the animal rights movement.”

Other measures will include CCTV, “robust” building materials, strengthened glass and “anti-Hostile Vehicle Measures”. The eight-page document states: “This is to create a maximum stand-off in the event of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.”

It also details how the perimeter will be secured and monthly meetings will be held between the local police, Met intelligence units, a national domestic extremism team and British Library security.

One official was overheard saying the document had to be treated as if it had been “handed to the council from a foreign embassy” when shown to the public.

Campaigner Natalie Bennett said: “It is an indication that there are serious concerns from the authorities about the danger this building represents. It shows there's clearly a problem with thousands of people living so close by. Residents don't feel very confident about what's going on. There are thousands of people living on the doorstep.”

The lab is the subject of a parliamentary committee inquiry in the new year but is recommended for approval by planning officers on Thursday.

The research centre is a conglomerate of the Medical Research Council, University College London, Cancer Research UK and The Wellcome Trust and will also lead the way in HIV, heart diseases and stroke research.

About one third of the building, which is up to 154 feet high in places, will be underground.
Opponents of the scheme, including the local MP and former Labour health secretary Frank Dobson, are angry that no social housing has been included on the 3.6 acre site.

A UKCMRI spokesman said: “We will carry out research on diseases that affect people across London, the UK and the world including cancers, heart disease and stroke, infections, diseases of the immune and nervous systems and the degenerative diseases linked to ageing. We can absolutely state that there will be no military research at the institute.”

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

UKCMRI Newsletter

The UKCMRI Nov 2010 newsletter to residents and businesses in the Somer's Town area HERE

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Parliamentary Inquiry


Committee announces new inquiry into the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation

18 November 2010

The Science and Technology Committee announces a new inquiry into the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI)

Andrew Miller MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, said

“The previous Committee published a report in January 2008 welcoming and supporting the creation of a leading medical research centre based in the UK, but had concerns about management and costs.

“With the announcement confirming funding for the project in October’s Spending Review it is now very timely to scrutinise the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation.”


In 2007 the former Government gave its backing to plans to create the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) at St Pancras in London. The plan is for it to be Europe’s leading centre for medical research, maintaining Britain’s position at the forefront of global medical research, strengthening the UK economy and, through links with the NHS, change patients’ lives. The centre will bring together science teams from the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK, The Wellcome Trust, and University College London.

The Coalition Government confirmed funding for the project on 20 October 2010 as part of the Spending Review, announcing that it will invest £220 million over four years. David Willetts MP, the Science Minister, and representatives of the four partners signed a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) to establish UKCMRI on 9 November 2010.

Terms of reference:

The terms of reference for this inquiry are outlined below, and the Committee invites written submissions on these issues by the close on Wednesday 12 January 2011.

  1. Review the progress on the UKCMRI since 2008 and assess the plans for the coming years.
  2. What do the four partners hope to achieve from the project and what new technologies and innovations are being considered?
  3. Is the financing of the UKCMRI robust and justified, with particular reference to the public support for the project and the knock-on effect on budgets for other research?
  4. What are the risk assessment arrangements to ensure the safety of the site?
  5. What are the arrangements for the closure of the existing National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill?

The Committee will not be considering the UKCMRI’s planning application made to the London Borough of Camden in September 2010.

Each submission should:

a) be no more than 3,000 words in length;
b) be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible;
c) have numbered paragraphs; and
d) include a declaration of interests.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to scitechcom@parliament.uk and marked "UKCMRI".

An additional paper copy should be sent to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Foregone Conclusion?

An article on the Medical Research Council website dated 9 Nov 2010 HERE, gives the impression that planning consent is a foregone conclusion - way in advance of the official decision to be taken by Camden Council's development control committee on 16 Dec 2010.

Has pressure been put on Camden Council to rubber stamp this big money making project regardless of objections?

Friday, 22 October 2010


Friday, 1 October 2010

MP Slams Lab


Green MP slams super lab plans for Brill Place


CAROLINE Lucas, the first Green MP in Britain, has waded into a planning row over a project that could bring some of the world’s leading scientists under one roof in Somers Town.

Camden Council’s planning committee are due to consider a project to build a new research laboratory in Brill Place, opposite St Pancras train station, this autumn.

The application, put together by a consortium of University College London, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK, will house 1,500 scientists and the body boasts they will be tackling ailments that kill millions each year.

But at a visit to the site on Thursday, Ms Lucas attacked the lands as wholly unsuitable for the site and warned that the big research bodies behind the scheme should not be allowed to bully people living near by.

She told the New Journal: “It is clearly not the right place for it. It will completely shut out the light for neighbouring homes and also block out light in the area’s only bit of green space.”

She said the council had the moral authority to dismiss the plans as its own planning brief had earmarked the site for housing. She added: “The planning brief says it should be 50 per cent housing – and these plans have none. It could be a really good housing project and a permeable site. It could be something beautiful.”

Ms Lucas also questioned what benefits the plans would have for those living in the area. She said: “Somers Town is an area that suffers badly from overcrowding and poor health and needs to address these issues. The UKMRCI could be built anywhere. It is not clear why they should be here. They could even stay in their current site in Mill Hill – they need to offer much better reasons for wanting to move than they have already.”

A spokeswoman for the UKMRCI say bringing teams under one roof is the only way to tackle serious illnesses. They said: “In the last decade, it has become clear that progress in biomedical science requires scientists from different disciplines in biology to work together.”

A new planning pressure group called Somers Town and St Pancras Planning Action are holding a public meeting on Monday at 7pm at the Somers Town Community Centre, Ossulton Street, to respond to the plans.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Public Meeting


Monday October 4th, 7-9pm at the Somers Town Community Centre, 150 Ossulton Street, London, NW1 1EE - link to map here. It is being held by
St Pancras and Somers Town Planning Action, members of which will put their case against the development.

Representatives of UKCMRI and Camden Council have been invited to speak. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Protection of Animals EU Directives

EU Directive 86/609/EEC

Protection of animals used for experimental purposes


Council Directive 86/609/EEC of 24 November 1986 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States regarding the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes [See amending acts].


Directive 86/609/EEC

Some disparities existed between the national laws in force for the protection of animals used for certain experimental purposes. These disparities had to be harmonised in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the common market.

This Directive applies to the use of animals for the following purposes:

  • the development, manufacture and quality, effectiveness and safety testing of drugs, foodstuffs and other substances or products:
    in treating diseases or health problems in man, animals or plants;
    in treating physiological conditions in man, animals or plants;
  • the protection of the natural environment in the interests of man or animal.

Each Member State must prohibit the use of endangered species for experimental purposes. The use of such animals may only be permitted in specific cases:

  • if the aim of the experiment/research in question is the preservation of the species concerned;
  • if this species seems to be the only one suitable for the biomedical purpose.

As far as the care and accommodation of animals is concerned, Member States must ensure that:

  • all animals are provided with hygienic living conditions;
  • any restriction on the animal's normal behaviour is limited to the absolute minimum;
  • the physical conditions in which animals are kept are checked;
  • the well-being of the animal is observed by a competent person to prevent any suffering;
  • any unnecessary suffering is eliminated as soon as possible.

Each Member State must designate the authorities responsible for verifying that this Directive is implemented.

Where it is planned to subject an animal to an experiment in which it will, or may, experience pain which is likely to be prolonged, that experiment must be specifically declared and justified to, or specifically authorised by, the authority. The authority will take appropriate judicial or administrative action if it is not satisfied that the experiment is of sufficient importance for the essential needs of man or animal.

The authority in each Member State will collect and periodically make publicly available the following statistical information on the use of animals for experimental purposes:

  • the number and kinds of animals used in experiments;
  • the number of animals, by selected categories, used in experiments;
  • the number of animals, by selected categories, used in experiments required by legislation.

Member States are invited to inform the Commission of the measures taken in the area of the protection of animals used for certain experimental purposes and to provide a suitable summary of statistical information.

Experiments must only take place if there is no alternative method that does not entail the use of animals. Animals involved must be those with the lowest degree of neuro-physiological sensitivity. (emphasis added)

Persons who carry out experiments or take part in them must be scientifically competent and have the appropriate education and training.

Breeding, supplier and user establishments must be approved by the competent authorities. Furthermore, these establishments must keep a record of all the details concerning the animals (the number and species of animals sold or supplied, the dates on which they are sold or supplied, the name and address of the recipient, etc.) for a minimum of three years.

User establishments must be designed in such a way as to allow optimum results to be obtained with the minimum degree of suffering for the animals.

Any animal taken to a breeding, supplier or user establishment must be provided with an identification mark in the least painful manner possible.

Animals used must be given a local or general anaesthetic. When an anaesthetic is not possible, analgesics may be given instead.

After an experiment, the animal must be given medical care aimed at its recovery. In the event that the well-being of the animal cannot be guaranteed, it must be killed by a humane method as soon as possible.

At the end of the experiment, the competent authority may decide to release the animal on the condition that this does not present a danger to public health or to the well-being of the animal.

In order to avoid any risk of duplication in experiments, Member States must accept to mutually recognise their scientific results.

The Member States and the Commission should encourage research in order to find other scientific methods that provide the same level of information without entailing the use or suffering of animals. (emphasis added)

Directive 2003/65/EC

The technical annexes to Directive 86/609/EEC which include guidelines for accommodation and care of animals must be updated as the scientific data on which they are based is out of date. To facilitate the revision of the annexes, in place of the codecision procedure hitherto in force, this Directive introduces the regulatory committee procedure, which is far simpler and faster.


ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 86/609/EEC28.11.19864.11.1989OJ L 358 of 18.12.1986
Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2003/65/EC16.9.200315.9.2004OJ L 230 of 16.9.2003


Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 November 2008 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes [COM (2008) 543 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Proposal adds to Directive 86/609/EEC regarding the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes by introducing new measures aiming to improve the protection and well-being of animals used for experiments. The Proposal will in particular encourage alternative methods rather than those involving live animals and provides a solid basis for the application of the principle of the Three Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) in animal experiments. The Proposal repeals Directive 86/609/EEC.

Codecision procedure (COD/2008/0211).

Commission Recommendation 2007/526/EC of 18 June 2007 on guidelines for the accommodation and care of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes [Official Journal L 197 of 30.7.2007].

This recommendation updates the guidelines for the accommodation and care of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes. It aims to take account, in particular, of decisions taken by the parties to the European Convention for the protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes, as approved by Council Decision 1999/575/EC.

Statistical reports

In accordance with Articles 13 and 26 of Directive 86/609/EEC, each Member State must provide the Commission with certain statistical information concerning the use of animals for experimental purposes and other scientific purposes.

Fifth Commission Report on the statistics on the number of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes in the Member States of the European Union [COM(2007) 675 final – Official Journal C 9 of 15.1.2008]

This report presents the data from 2005, with the exception of France which gathered its data in 2004. It is the first such report to cover the ten Member States which joined the EU on 1 May 2004. The number of animals used in 2005 totalled 12.1 million, with 8.6% of the animals used in the EU coming from the countries which joined in 2004. Malta stated that no experiments on animals had been carried out on its territory. As in previous years, rodents and rabbits were the most commonly used species (78%), followed by fish.

Fourth Commission report on the statistics on the number of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes in the Member States of the European Union [COM(2005) 7 final – not published in the Official Journal].
This report is based on data from 2002, with the exception of France which gathered its data in 2001. The report highlights that, for the first time, all Member States used standard statistical tables ("EU tables"). Moreover, the data collected now cover all procedures and their aims. The number of animals used in 2002 totalled 10.7 million, of which most were rodents and rabbits, but with a significant increase in the use of fish.

Report of 22 January 2003 from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, third report from the Commission on the statistics on the number of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes in the Member States of the European Union [COM(2003) 19 final – not published in the Official Journal].

The report is based on the data for 1999. The difference compared with the previous reports is that the data forwarded by the Member States on this occasion cover a broader range of procedures and purposes. This enabled far more accurate and complete tables to be compiled at Union level.
The report notes a downward trend in the use of animals for experimental and other scientific purposes. In 1999, 9.8 million animals were used. As in previous years, rodents and rabbits were used most.

Second Commission report to the Council and to the European Parliament on statistics concerning the number of animals used for experimental purposes and for other scientific purposes in the Member States of the European Union [COM(1999) 191 final – not published in the Official Journal].

This report includes statistics for 1996, except for France which gave data for 1997. The Commission departments and the responsible authorities in the Member States agreed on eight standard statistical tables ("EU tables") to be used when compiling this report. The total number of animals used was 11.6 million.

First Commission report to the Council and to the European Parliament on statistics concerning the number of animals used for experimental purposes or for other scientific purposes [COM(94) 195 final – not published in the Official Journal].
The first report concerns 1991. The data shown in the summary table for the whole of the European Union relate to 1990, 1991 and 1992. Belgium and Luxembourg did not provide data.

The European Convention for the protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental or other scientific purposes

Council Decision 1999/575/EC of 23 March 1998 on the conclusion of the European Convention for the protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes [Official Journal L 222 of 24.8.1999].

The Community supports any actions whose main objective is the well-being of animals used for experimental purposes. For this reason, the Community will intensify its efforts to develop substitute scientific methods in order to meet its objective of reducing the number of animals used for experimental purposes.

Council Decision 2003/584/EC of 22 July 2003 concerning the conclusion of the Protocol of Amendment to the European Convention for the protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes [Official Journal L 198, 6.8.2003].
The Protocol sets out a simplified procedure for amending the technical appendices to the Convention to allow it to reflect the latest scientific and technical developments and research results within the fields covered.

Friday, 3 September 2010


Notice 3/09/10
The Council received the planning application for the UKCMRI proposal at Brill Place on Wednesday 1 September.

We are currently checking that the application is complete and this process is likely to take up to 2 weeks.

After we have checked and registered the application we will upload the plans and information onto the council’s website and consult in the normal way.

UPDATE: the UKCMRI Construction Limited planning application 2010/4721/P has been registered and is available for inspection HERE

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


Design of £600m King's Cross lab slammed

23 June 2010

THE latest vision for a £600million science super lab in the heart of King's Cross has been unveiled - but opponents of the scheme say it looks like "a giant bus shelter".

New artist's impressions of the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), planned to be built on land behind the British Library known as Brill Place, off Midland Road, were unveiled last Friday.

The designs had to be redrawn after Camden Council told backers including University College London (UCL) and The Wellcome Trust, both based in Euston Road, that the original plans were not good enough.

The building has been hailed as the most important scientific development in Britain "for a generation" by Sir Paul Nurse - the Nobel-prize winning biologist who is chairing the UKCMRI's scientific planning committee.

But a spokeswoman for protest group Stop Camden Lab said: "It's like a gigantic mausoleum. The plans look like a cross between a shopping mall and a giant bus shelter. It doesn't fit in with the area, nor does the purpose of it."

A Camden Council planning brief for Brill Place says the land should be used for new housing - half of which should be made affordable.

Councillor Roger Robinson, who represents St Pancras and Somers Town ward, slammed the latest plans, saying: "It's too high and takes away all the light away in a built-up area which we don't want. That land should be used for housing and leisure, not for a science lab."

The UKCMRI will house 1,250 of the world's leading scientists carrying out pioneering research in diseases such as cancer.

Fred Pilbrow, from PLP Architecture, which focused on the external design of the building, said: "The architectural strengths in many of the buildings surrounding the site have provided extraordinary inspiration. We have tried to create a design which respects and enhances that legacy - but which opens the science of the institute to the world."

Professor Malcolm Grant, president of UCL, added: "We anticipate that UKCMRI will be a vital catalyst for jobs and regeneration in Camden."

Last month the new coalition Government vowed to support the project, which was awarded £250million in funding from the previous Labour administration.

A planning application is due to be submitted to Camden Council later this summer, with building work starting early next year if it is approved.

Monday, 21 June 2010



Inside Europe's largest biomedical research institute
Artist's impressions of the planned UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) behind St Pancras station in London http://gu.com/p/2hnk4


London's 'somewhat unusual' new research centre http://www.nature.com/

Sunday, 25 April 2010


I attended for about a hour in the late afternoon, the peaceful protest that was held yesterday (Sat 24 April 2010) outside the gates of the site in Brill Place, Somers Town, Camden. The proposed site is across the road from the Midland Road entrance to St Pancras International Railway station.

The site is also surrounded on quite a large scale by residential premises.

Reportedly, protesters had been at the site for quite some time before I arrived and in all there was quite a good sized crowd gathered in and outside the Purchese Street Open Space (a nice little public park) sited opposited the gates of the site.

Various animal rights groups where there with a few stalls such as:
Safer Medicines Campaign (formerly known as Europeans for Medical Progress),

National Anti-Vivisection Society

Animal Aid


And other groups of protesters, some who came from as far afield as Sheffield.

Not sure who was from Camden, but the proposed lab is attracting a lot of attention from all over the country.

There was a film 'crew' (well one person I could see with a film recorder) and various other people with professional looking cameras capturing scenes from the demo.

There was 4 police vans and 8-10 police officers standing in a line outside the site gates and in front of the protesters. As far as I could see police and protesters were well behaved.

A few site employees came out to have a look at what was going on.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Camden Gazette

Animal rights activists to protest over lab bid
13 April 2010
HUNDREDS of animal rights protesters are set to descend on Camden next week for a demonstration against plans for a £500million medical research lab in King's Cross.

"Several hundred" campaigners will hold a protest vigil in Midland Road opposite the rear entrance to St Pancras International next Saturday.

They oppose controversial plans for a massive superlab due to be built on land behind the neighbouring British Library known as Brill Place.

It would house 1,500 leading scientists from across the globe, with bosses from a consortium including the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK confirming that animal testing would be carried out on-site.

Protest co-organiser Andre Menache, a vet, said: "It will be peaceful. We want to make people aware that there's animal suffering involved and we want the support of the community.

"They don't want it built next door to their homes where their children go to school and next door to an international station. This facility will not be welcomed because of the risk of a terrorist attack and the danger of virus escape which could contaminate the ground and the water supply."

Many residents oppose the plans and say the land should be used for homes and community facilities.

The protest will take place on World Day for Animals in Laboratories with thousands of people taking part in events across London.

Mr Menache added: "Animal experimentation isn't just cruel, its bad science. Last year we had over 2,000 people for WDAIL and we're hoping for more this year. We don't expect all of them to come to St Pancras but there will be several hundred."

A planning application for the lab was to be submitted to Camden Council this spring but officers have demanded the designs be redrafted to be more sympathetic to the surrounding area.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged £250million to the scheme, known as UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation.

Friday, 18 December 2009



Homes row over plans for £523million science lab

09 December 2009
THE bosses behind a controversial £523million science lab planned for the heart of Somers Town insist the project is "in the public good".

A 3.5-acre swathe of land known as Brill Place - which is behind the British Library - has been earmarked for the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) after being bought from the Government for £85million.

The high security centre, due to open in 2014, plans to conduct pioneering stem cell research to beat fatal diseases including cancer.

Unveiling detailed designs for the UKCMRI, Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse said: "This lab will keep Britain at the forefront of biomedical research in the world. It aims to understand how life works and how we can use that understanding to combat diseases across the spectrum. This is the most exciting science project in a generation."

The centre - a partnership between Cancer Research UK, The Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and University College London (UCL) - will attract leading scientists from around the world.

But neighbouring residents say the land should be used for new affordable homes, as outlined in a Camden Council planning brief dictating what should be built on the site.

The bosses behind the UKCMRI are hoping Camden Council will still grant the centre planning permission.

Professor Malcolm Grant, president of UCL, said: "The planning brief was established in 2003 on the understanding that what would take place would be a commercial development. We're not doing a commercial development. We're providing a development in the public good and dealing with funds from the taxpayer and charity organisations. It's not our brief to provide affordable housing."

He added that "Camden Council has been helpful without giving any particular indications as to what will happen".

UKCMRI will be classified as a Category 3 lab, meaning research into diseases such as influenza will be carried out - but not into deadlier viruses such as Ebola. Animal testing on rats would also take place. Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, chief executive of the MRC, moved to dampen fears of it becoming a potential terrorist target. He admitted there was an "inherent risk" but said he hoped the Home Office would provide top level security.

Helia Evans, chairwoman of the Ossulston tenants' and residents' association, said neighbours were not happy with the plans. She said: "Most people want housing because that's what we need."
A planning application for the scheme will be submitted in the spring.

A public consultation on the designs takes place tomorrow (Thursday) at Cooper's Lane Community Centre, in Purchese Street, Somers Town, from 3pm to 7pm, Friday from 4pm to 7pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm.

Sunday, 14 June 2009



Early day motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. However, very few EDMs are actually debated. Instead, they are used for reasons such as publicising the views of individual MPs, drawing attention to specific events or campaigns, and demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.

Why bother?

Although there is very little prospect of EDMs being debated, many attract a great deal of public interest and frequently receive media coverage.

Some EDM concerning animal welfare - for full list click HERE






Saturday, 30 May 2009

EU ELECTIONS 4 June 2009

The European Parliament Elections 4 June 2009 - Please think carefully before you vote and consider giving your tick on the ballot paper to the Party or Independent who has a good record in animal welfare issues.


Tuesday, 10 March 2009



Camden News - by PAUL KIELTHY
Published: 5 March 2009

‘Hundreds of jobs’ pledge as work begins on £500m superlab project

AS excavators began work on the site of Europe’s largest research laboratory, the woman directing the £500million scheme promised jobs and education benefits to its Somers Town neighbours – but ruled out the social housing that activists and the council have demanded.

Contractors began “exploratory works” at Brill Place, directly behind the British Library, last week.

While the work of the consortium behind the centre in combating cancer and infectious diseases is generally recognised to be world class, the siting of the centre in the heart of Somers Town, next to King’s Cross St Pancras railway station, has caused concern since it was announced in December 2007.

Fay Gillot, programme director of the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) destined for Brill Place, sought to allay fears over security.

“We’re not going to build brick walls around it; we want it to remain open,” she said. “There have to be security barriers but we don’t want them to be too heavy. It will have the feeling that this is a place you can enter.”

Ms Gillot has been given the job of driving the centre from the drawing board onto the 3.6-acre Brill Place site.

Stadium architects HOK were appointed last year but the plans are still in flux, according to Ms Gillot, who said the likeliest design would be around five storeys tall.

While there will be animal research at the lab, (my emphasis) research on primates has been ruled out.

The Brill Place site was earmarked by Camden Council for housing and office spaces, and the lab plans.

Ms Gillot said the consortium of the Wellcome Trust, Cander Research UK, UCL, and the Medical Research Council was still in talks with the council but pledged employment and educational gains.

“It should generate jobs,” she added. “First you have got the construction, then there are going to be 1,500 scientists there, and they will require catering and maintenance which will require 300-400 people. And around the area you generate an economy.”

Plans for the future of Brill Place have yet to be received by the council.(my emphasis)


Thursday, 26 February 2009


The UK Government signed the below Convention in March 1986, and it came into force July 2000.

Despite this the number of animals being experimented on in any given year in the UK is increasing and not decreasing as should be. The UK government has failed to honour this agreement.


European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals used for Experimental and other Scientific Purposes

Summary of the treaty

The Convention is designed primarily to reduce both the number of experiments and the number of animals used for such purposes. It encourages Parties not to experiment on animals except where there is no alternative. All research into alternative methods should be encouraged. Animals to be experimented on should be selected on the basis of clearly established quantitative criteria and must be well cared for and spared avoidable suffering whenever possible.

To this end, the Convention lays down a number of principles which are to be considered only as a starting point. The Parties meet regularly to examine the application of the Convention and, if appropriate, to extend or strengthen its provisions.

Thursday, 19 February 2009


Rather strangely in my view, the government has given a response prior to a petition end date concerning the torture lab that is being proposed at Brill Place. The petition end date is 6 Jan 2010 but a response was given on 18 Feb 2009.


We received a petition asking:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop the building of a virus containment facility and animal testing lab on a Camden Council house estate alongside St Pancras International in Kings Cross London UK. The backers for the lab are the MRC, UCL, CRUK and Wellcome Trust. The lab plans have been criticised by MI5, MPs and local people from the area.”

Details of Petition:

“There are plans to build a virus containment facility and animal testing lab in Camden in defiance of the council’s own planning brief calling for 50% social housing. The lab poses a very real virus leak threat similar to the Pirbright Foot & Mouth disaster. The lab will hold animals including cats and dogs which is opposed by many people. We ask that the land be sold and used to benefit the community in a compulsory purchase order.”

Read the Government’s response

This is a response in advance of the closing date from the Government.

The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) offers a unique opportunity to build one of Europe’s premier medical research facilities in partnership between the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and University College London (UCL).

The UKCMRI medical research centre will advance scientific understanding, allow the development of treatments for diseases, promote greater opportunities for training clinicians of the future, foster greater interaction and knowledge transfer between basic scientists and clinicians, develop close links with outstanding nearby hospitals and engage the public on health issues.

UKCMRI will play a vital role in the regeneration of the local area, creating jobs and boosting the economy. There will be more that 1,200 scientific jobs and over 100 people employed during the construction phase. There is already ongoing dialogue with the local community and a full community consultation will take place this spring and summer.

The Government is aware that concerns have been raised about possible use of viruses in the new facility. Compliance with biosecurity requirements will be a major consideration for the Consortium developing UKCMRI. The Consortium will be working closely with the relevant agencies, including the Health and Safety Executive, and its plans will be developed so that the facilities meet all regulatory requirements.

There are no plans to carry out research involving cats, dogs or primates at UKCMRI.

The partners will seek any necessary advice on measures relating to personnel and physical security.


There are plans to carry out torture on other animals though! Yuck Yuck disgusting!


Thursday, 4 December 2008


Camden News -
Published: 4 December 2008

Safety fears for superlab

SAFETY concerns at the highest ranks of the Town Hall over the siting of a £500million superlab in Somers Town have been revealed by Freedom of Information disclosures.

The government’s intention to allow scientists to build a research centre exploring cancer and infectious diseases in Brill Place, behind the British Library, was revealed by the New Journal last year.

Now papers disclosed under FoI show that the council’s then safety chief, Lib Dem councillor Ben Rawlings, wrote to senior figures at the Town Hall and Camden police about “community safety concerns I have at this early stage”.

Cllr Rawlings listed animal rights protests, the risk of contamination, and the disruption any incident would cause to King’s Cross-based council services.

His letter, sent on August 21 but drafted in January, reads: “I cannot envisage any proposal for a medical research facility that would be acceptable in this area from a community safety perspective.”

Much correspondence has been exempted from disclosure for security reasons.

Camden police began drawing up draft contingency plans for the site last year.

The council has repeatedly stated that it cannot act on the site until a planning application is submitted, as expected, next year.

The Medical Research Centre, Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK and University College London are backing the centre.

Sunday, 2 November 2008



Last year, more than 3 million animals were tortured and killed in the UK in cruel animal tests. Daisy's story is just one of them.

As a puppy, Daisy was sold to a commercial testing facility and confined to a barren cage. Poisonous chemicals were mixed into her food, and she grew sicker and sicker. Eventually, her small body gave up, and she died a painful and lonely death.

Your donation today could help eradicate the abuse of animals in laboratories as well as help end the suffering of many more animals around the world. It may be too late for poor Daisy, but it's not yet too late for other animals who will suffer similar fates. Please give generously and help end animals tests!

Thursday, 28 August 2008



Skyscraper firm to design new lab
nlnews@archant.co.uk 27 August 2008

AN INTERNATIONAL firm of architects behind a Canary Wharf skyscraper and a new wing at the Natural History Museum have been chosen to design a £500million science lab in King's Cross.

The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation is planned to be built by 2014 on land behind the British Library known as Brill Place. It will employ 1,500 staff including leading scientists from around the world to work on cures and treatments for diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis, influenza and malaria.

Now the consortium behind the scheme has chosen architects HOK to design the centre. HOK director Andrew Barra clough said: "This facility has the potential to have an extraordinary impact on the wellbeing of our global popu-lation. Our goal is to create an intelligent and memorable building - one which works, and delivers the benefits of re-search and inno-vation.

"HOK has designed the Barclays Bank World Headquarters, at Canary Wharf, and the Darwin zoological centre at the Natural History Museum.Fay Gillott, programme director for UKCMRI, said: "HOK has shown the partner organisations an exciting vision for this building. We want to create a building that will serve the people of London and the UK for decades.

"The lab was anounced despite a wave of opposition from campaigners who say the publicly-owned 3.6 acre site should be used for social housing for Camden residents. Camden Council. Leader Councillor Keith Moffitt has warned it goes against the council's planning brief to build new homes.

Thursday, 10 July 2008


The below is the Governments response to an on-line Petition started on the 10 Downing Street website.

I would argue that the UK Government needs to make a greater commitment to ending all animal testing in the UK and to set a target date for doing so. There really is no excuse for continuing with this outdated and barbaric model of testing.

" The Government's policy on the use of animals in scientific procedures is clear and straightforward. There is still a need for the responsible use of animals for experimental and other scientific purposes to continue if improvements in healthcare and veterinary treatment are to be developed with the minimum of delay and to make proper provision to protect man and the environment from health risks and other hazards.

Some campaigners describe animal experiments as 'outmoded science' and argue that there are better ways of making medical and scientific progress using modern, non-animal methods, such as computer modelling and microdosing.

However, under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, animal experiments cannot be carried out if the same objectives can be achieved using non-animal methods. So, as relevant, new and improved technologies and testing methods are developed, they already have to be used instead of animal methods.

Animal tests cannot predict with absolute certainty what will happen in humans, nor are they expected to. All modern medicines are tested in cell cultures, computers, animals and human volunteers: animal studies are used only as a coarse screen for gross toxicity purposes, and for obvious unacceptable side effects, before candidate drugs are tested in human volunteers.
The real safety testing for side effects in such drugs is carried out in large, controlled trials in humans who have the target disease, and at the dose and formulation anticipated for use. There are several human trial phases, and materials may fail at any stage. Despite the pre-clinical testing and the considerable investment required to develop candidate materials to this stage, the failure rate is high - and the figure of only 8% of materials becoming licensed products is of the right order.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the Government agency which is responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work. The Home Office has oversight of only one of the component parts of the pre-clinical testing programme: the use of animals. The MHRA will only grant a marketing authorisation (MA) if it is satisfied that a product is efficacious, safe and of appropriate quality. The decision to grant an MA is taken based on an overall risk/benefit analysis, recognising that all drugs have some risk attached.

The Government strongly supports the development and use of non-animal alternatives where possible. The National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) was announced in May 2004 and acts as a focal point for research into the 3Rs.

The NC3Rs is an independent scientific organisation which provides a UK focus for the advancement of the 3Rs. Working with stakeholders in academia, industry, Government, research funders, regulatory authorities, and animal welfare organisations, the Centre aims to increase the development and implementation of the 3Rs in medical, biological and veterinary research and testing. The Centre is funded by Government and the Research Councils and also receives some funding from the Wellcome Trust and Industry.

We would all like to see a time when medical progress and improvements in healthcare are not dependent on the use of animals. But that time is not yet here. The fact remains that animals will be needed for research for the foreseeable future if we are to continue to develop life-saving medicines."

Wednesday, 4 June 2008



Camden Council statement on the sale of the land at the rear of the British Library
Date: 05/12/07

The Prime Minister has today announced that the land at the rear of the British Library has been sold to four organisations to make way for a UK Centre for medical research and innovation.

Cllr Keith Moffitt, Leader of Camden Council said:
Camden Council will now be carefully assessing the proposed development including the medical research centre against our planning brief.

“Right from the start we have made it very clear to central Government that any proposed development must have the right mix of housing, employment and community facilities for King’s Cross and for Camden as a whole.

“Housing in Camden, especially affordable housing is in short supply and with our residential population expected to grow by 10% by 2016 it has to be a priority. The Council’s planning brief has laid down clear requirements for 50% or more of the new land use to be housing, and 50% or more of that to be affordable housing. We will be very disappointed if the proposed plan ignores this brief.

Only a few weeks ago we were very much encouraged by the Housing Green Paper, particularly the Government's desire to better co-ordinate the use of public land to address the shortage of housing. However in this case the Government seem to have fallen at the first hurdle when it comes to putting their own policy into practice.

Ref Code: ST78
Contact: 020 7974 5717

Friday, 2 May 2008


Letters page CNJ 1 May 2008

Need to fight against ‘danger lab’

• WE attended one of the poorly advertised open meetings held by the Medical Research Council consortium at the Somers Town community centre.

The MRC claim that local people are very interested in this exciting project”. The need for huge, top-notch security men on the door of, and inside, the community centre indicates how local people really feel and I hope that the MRC are invoiced for these security costs.

The MRC are also claiming that the centre won’t be “dealing with really dangerous diseases like ebola or lassa fever” yet have not ruled out, and refused to comment on, whether pathogens such as anthrax or rabies would be held in the centre.

It will be at least a “level three” facility, and these do hold deadly viruses and diseases.

Their leaflet states that “no security warnings have been issued about our plans” and that they are liaising with security and emergency authorities.

Indeed, a security alert was leaked by MI5 about the plans for the site also owned by the consortium, on Hampstead Road, close to the Regent’s Park estate. The plans for this were abandoned because the site was too small.

The site at Brill Place, given its proximity to St Pancras International, King’s Cross and Euston, is surely a far more dangerous idea.

As for “working closely with the authorities”, we have as proof, in the form of a document, that emergency services including British Transport Police, London Fire Brigade etc were not informed or consulted.

It is they who will have to deal with a deadly virus leak or terror attack so close to international transport terminals.We are appalled at the statement issued by MRC who say they “understand the concerns about housing but local people need to remember that the centre will help fight diseases such as TB that affect people living in the area and other serious health issues”.

Tuberculosis thrives in overcrowded and poor living conditions. Building the centre on the already overcrowded and deprived Somers Town estate will, in fact, contribute to the spread of diseases such as TB and stress-related illness such as heart disease.

The MRC claim that “security will be improved on the estate by placing the centre here”, in fact horrifying local people.It is very likely that armed police will patrol the estate if the laboratory goes ahead.None of us has forgotten the shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes who was killed after being mistaken for a terrorist.The MRC claims that building the lab will boost the economy are groundless.

Building council homes and community facilities will provide employment in areas of construction, security and other projects, employing local people, whereas the MRC plans will provide jobs for people only outside the local area and security will be in the form of state-controlled armed forces.St Pancras & Somers Town Councillor Roger Robinson is calling for an open meeting between the MRC and the people of Camden.

The MRC meet-and-greet sessions were conducted in what amounts to secrecy and were addressed only to the people of Somers Town when the issues affect everyone – not just in Camden but London and further afield.

The MRC are attempting to keep the controversial laboratory plans confined and contained within a small area to prevent feedback and protest. Local people were given just a couple of days’ notice regarding the meet-and-greet sessions and people living in the rest of Camden were not informed at all.

When I asked a representative why this was, I was told (and I quote): “Well, we did dump some leaflets here in the community centre and some more down near one of the shops where the community go.”

This lack of professionalism is very worrying. The consortium claim that they are professional and stringent.

Foot and mouth disease was leaked from an equally professional and stringent facility at Pirbright in Surrey.We suggest that community leaders, tenants’ associations and community centre groups get together to for a Camden people’s forum in support of the Somers Town People’s Forum to give all those across Camden who will be affected a stronger voice in campaigning against this.

Mandy Ford & Sue WHitaker, Elijah B, Jim Beresford
London Against Camden Danger Lab