Lab closure claim untrue, say Cheshire scientists


Lab closure claim untrue, say Cheshire scientists

Scientists at the Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire have hit back at a misleading media report that the future of the laboratory is under threat.

Contrary to comments in a BBC news report yesterday (Wednesday) Prospect, the union that represents over 500 scientists and engineers at Daresbury, said members are looking towards a secure and prosperous future at the Cheshire laboratory.

Prospect negotiator Jim Cooper joined forces with laboratory director, Hywel Price, and Mike Cuff, chief executive of Halton Borough Council, in describing a BBC lunchtime news programme, which stated that Daresbury Laboratory would close as a result of the development of the synchrotron project in Oxfordshire, as ‘complete nonsense’.

Cooper said: "Prospect members campaigned for the Diamond project to be located at the Daresbury Laboratory and not at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire. While they were disappointed to have lost that campaign, they have wasted no time and expended great effort in working towards securing a future for the site."

To date, Prospect members at the Cheshire laboratory have:

  • continued to operate the existing synchrotron on site (this facility will be required even after the Diamond facility is fully operational) for the benefit of UK and international research
  • enabled the establishment of the SuperSTEM (Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope) facility at the site
  • won a £50m plus project to develop the HPCx computer - a powerful academic research tool.
Daresbury’s scientists and engineers are also working to secure funding for the development of the next stage in synchrotron research – the 4GLS or fourth generation light source project – and have steered the process through two of the ‘gateways’ that the government funding mechanism requires.

Chair of the Prospect branch at the laboratory, Dr Steve Bennett, said: "It is extremely disappointing that the media message yesterday appeared to be that Daresbury will close. Nothing could be further from the truth and we are all working hard to secure the long-term future not only for the laboratory but for science as a whole in the North–west."