Object to New 'Super-Lab'

New “Super-Lab” Planned for Central London, Please Object Now

Please Add Your Comments by 14th October 2010

After many false starts and delays, the planning application for the new so called “Super-Lab” planned for St Pancras has been lodged with Camden Council.

There will be more details on the information below on the NAVA website soon http://www.antivivisection.info

We are still waiting to hear of a date for the planning meeting, as soon as we know we will let you know of details of protests. In the meantime, the planners have given very little time for objections to be raised, so please contact Camden Council, and the individual councillors and officials who will be taking the decision about whether to allow the building to go ahead, see below for contact details.


As regular readers of this list are aware, if this project goes ahead it could be one of the biggest animal research centres in the Europe, right in the heart of London. The consortium behind the project, UKCMRI is made up of four of the usual suspects when it comes to animal experiments: The Medical Research Council (MRC), The Wellcome Trust, University College London (UCL) and Cancer
Research UK

Other reasons to oppose the project

It's also important to remember that many local residents and their councillors are totally opposed to the development for reasons other than the animals, so we have the potential to form a strong alliance to stop it in its tracks.

It has been suggested that when writing to councillors that we focus on these other reasons for tactical reasons, as they are more likely to succeed than opposition to animal research, in particular the threat of the escape of deadly viruses into the surrounding population.

Of course it's for you to decide how you approach the council, as long as you do take action, but these are just some of the other reasons why there is widespread opposition to the project.

The Danger of Virus Leaks

The proposed centre will be classified as a Level 3+ Bio Containment Facility.

This classification allows it to store and work on the vast majority of the most dangerous substances, pathogens and airborne viruses. Amongst these are Avian flu, Tularemia, West Nile virus, Yellow Fever virus and Anthrax.

It is public knowledge that level 3 + bio containment facilities have suffered security breaches and leakages all over the world, all built by eminent companies who have guaranteed security. As recently as July 10 2010 it was reported that the Health Protection Agency was fined £25,000 after exposing staff at its Colindale laboratory toa spillage of the potentially deadly 0157 strain of E.coli when more than a million doses of the bug were leaked onto the floor from a trolley of hazardous waste.

The Guardian of Tuesday April 22 2008 said it had found “over 70 dangerous incidents in labs and breaches of health and safety regulations aimed at controlling dangerous pathogens over the past 10 years”. The Health and Safety Executive brought five prosecutions at universities, research institutes and labs attached to hospitals. Imperial College London was prosecuted twice in 1996 and fined £45,000. Other cases involved The University of Edinburgh (fined £3,500) and Birmingham university (£10,000). The list goes on, and on... (more details on the website soon).

It is absolute madness to even consider building such a centre in a dense population centre, next to several housing estates, and close to two of the busiest railways stations in the world, Euston and Kings Cross-St Pancras, and right next to the Eurostar terminal with its links to the continent.

Threat of attack

On top of the risk of accidental leaks, there is also the very real threat that the centre would be a prime target for “terrorist” attack, as has been widely reported in the press recently.

Reuters have reported that MI5 identified the plans to the previous government as creating an increased terrorist threat. Presumably this comes from the lab itself being a prime target for terrorists, and the pathogens it would contain being a sought after commodity for any "dirty bomb" builders.

With millions of passengers passing through the stations, extremely busy roads on its door step, populations clustered all around it, the centre would represent a huge risk to Londoners and anyone in northern Europe if a leakage deadly pathogens was to occur, either through accidental leakage or due to an attack of some kind.

Housing and Community Facilities

Also controversial is the fact that the site was originally earmarked for housing and other community facilities, which are desperately needed in this part of London. Yet there is no affordable housing aspect to the UKCMRI plans, nor indeed any residential property or other community facilities.

Yet Camden Council have as their main planning objective the improvement and increase in social housing, and on the planning application itself it states that "The application is a DEPARTURE from policy LU1 (Land Use Proposals) of the London Borough of Camden Unitary Development Plan due to the non-inclusion of housing as part of the development". This has angered many residents and councillors in the area, which has an acute housing shortage and homelessness problem

Unfair Bidding Procedure

The land where the project is proposed in Brill Place was formerly government owned, and was put up for auction by the last New Labour Government. The bid procedure was unfair, indeed some would say corrupt.

Full details of the other bidders and the sums concerned are being withheld despite FOI (Freedom of Information) requests, but we know that the UKCMRI consortium's original bid was one of the lowest to be tabled, and their eventual winning bid was still more than £20 million below the highest bidder.

We also know that there were several higher bidders which did include social housing and community facilities in their plans.

It was yet another example of New Labour paying back the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries for the many millions the party received in donations over the years from the likes of David (Lord) Sainsbury. And the losers were the taxpayers who were robbed of millions because the land was sold cheaply, and the residents of Somerstown and St Pancras who were cheated out of the housing or community facilities they were entitled to.

Other reasons

The centre would entirely dominate the area, at up to 13 stories, it would be higher than all the surrounding buildings except the tower on top of St Pancras station, and would cast a shadow over nearby estates.

With 1500 employeed on a small site, constant day and night deliveries would raise the noise and pollution levels of the area. Parking would also become very difficult for residents.

In general, the disruption to the local community would be intolerable, and in area with acute problems already.

Take Action

Whatever your reasons for objecting, please contact the council and have your say about the development. There is a special page on the council website where you can do this.


Write to the councillors

Please also write to the individual coucillors and officials who will be responsible for deciding whether to grant planning permission for the centre. Ask them to make a stand and reject the application for any or all of the above reasons.

Please forward any replies you receive to us

The Planning Application will be heard by the Development Control Committee of Camden Council. This committee is made up by the following 16 councillors:
(There is a convenient list of all the relevant email addresses below if you want to write to them all at once.)

Of those on the list, Councillor Sarah Hayward of Kings Cross ward is the most directly affected, ie it's her ward that the site is in. However it should also be pointed out that as shown below, many also sit on Housing District Mgt Committee. Therefore they will know that the primary consideration for development in Camden is supposed to be affordable housing. A number are also members of the Health Scrutiny Committee and as such one would hope that they would like to see a proper risk assessment of the planned entity and its security systems and how this would affect the health of Camden residents if there was to be a security breach.

Councillor Dave Horan. Labour-Kentish Town (also a member of Health Scrutiny Committee )
E mail: Dave.Horan@camden.gov.uk

Councillor Thomas Neumark. Labour- Primrose Hill (also a member of the Housing and Adult Social care scrutiny committee)

E mail: Thomas.Neumark@camden.gov.uk

3.Councillor Andrew Marshall. Conservative-Swiss Cottage. (also member of standards committee)

E mail: andrew.marshall@camden.gov.uk

4.Councillor Roger Freeman. Conservative- Swiss Cottage
E mail: roger.freeman@camden.gov.uk

5. Councillor Matthew Sanders. Liberal-Democrat- Haverstock (also member of Housing and Adult social care scrutiny committee) gggyhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy E mail: matthew.sanders@camden.gov.uk

6.Councillor Sue Vincent Labour- Holborn and Covent Garden (also member of Housing District Managment committee)
E mail: sue.vincent@camden.gov.uk

7.Councillor Paul Braithwaite. Liberal Democrat- Cantelowes (also member of health scrutiny committee)
E mail: paulbraithwaite@camden.gov.uk

8.Councillor Heather Johnson. Labour -Regents Park (also member of Housing District Mgt Committee)
E mail: heather.johnson@camden.gov.uk

9. Councillor Flick Rea. Liberal Democrat- Fortune Green (also member of Culture and Environment Scrutiny Committee)
E mail: flick.rea@camden.gov.uk

10. Councillor Milena Nuti Labour- Bloomsbury
E mail: Milena.Nuti@camden.gov.uk

11.Councilllor Sean Birch Labour - Gospel Oak (also member of Culture and environment Scrutiny Committee & Housing DMC)
E mail: Sean.Birch@camden.gov.uk

12.Councillor Claire-Louise Leyland Conservative- Belsize (also member of Culture and Environmemt Scrutiny Committee)
E mail: Claire-Louise.Leyland@camden.gov.uk

13. Councillor Gillian Risso-Gill. Liberal Democrat - West Hampstead (also member of Health Scrutiny Committee)
E mail: Gillian.Risso-Gill@camden.gov.uk

14.Councillor Valerie Leach. Labour - Highgate (also member of Housing District MC)
E mail: Valerie.Leach@camden.gov.uk

15.Councillor Sarah Hayward. Labour. Kings Cross
E mail: Sarah.Hayward@camden.gov.uk

16. Councillor

Georgia Gould. Labour- Kentish Town (also member of Housing District Mgt Committee)
E mail: Georgia.Gould@camden.gov.uk

Camden Council Planning Department Officials

Neil Mc Donald 0207 9742061, Neil.Mcdonald@camden.gov.uk

Richard Kirby 0207 9745952, Richard.Kirby@camden.gov.uk
or the Planning Customer Support Team on 0207 974 5613.


Adrian.malcolm@camden.gov.uk, Thomas.Neumark@camden.gov.uk,
andrew.marshall@camden.gov.uk, roger.freeman@camden.gov.uk,
matthew.sanders@camden.gov.uk, sue.vincent@camden.gov.uk,
paulbraithwaite@camden.gov.uk, heather.johnson@camden.gov.uk,
flick.rea@camden.gov.uk, Milena.Nuti@camden.gov.uk, Sean.Birch@camden.gov.uk,
Claire-Louise.Leyland@camden.gov.uk, Gillian.Risso-Gill@camden.gov.uk,
Valerie.Leach@camden.gov.uk, Sarah.Hayward@camden.gov.uk,
Georgia.Gould@camden.gov.uk, Richard.Kirby@camden.gov.uk


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An Insider's View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement

© Keith Mann