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Lab moving to Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 12:59 29 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:35 05 July 2010

AN Essex-based government science laboratory is set to close this year, bringing an end to an era.

The activities of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) site at Burnham-on-Crouch will be moved to a new Waveney Campus in Lowestoft, due to be opened in 2010 as part of a phased departure, it was announced yesterday .

AN Essex-based government science laboratory is set to close this year, bringing an end to an era.

The activities of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) site at Burnham-on-Crouch will be moved to a new Waveney Campus in Lowestoft, due to be opened in 2010 as part of a phased departure, it was announced yesterday .

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Minister Lord Rooker announced the closure of the laboratory in June 2006, and five out of 40 staff who have decided to relocate from Burnham to Lowestoft have already moved. A further 53 employees from the site will leave Cefas entirely in the course of this year.

Cefas facilities at Lowestoft will also move to the new scientific and administrative complex, which will be home to around 1,000 staff from Cefas, Waveney District Council and Suffolk County Council.

The agency's withdrawal from Burnham-on-Crouch is scheduled to start in early spring of this year and the facility will close by the end of the year.

The renowned research laboratory has been at the site for more than half a century and is part of a network of Cefas sites around the UK, including Weymouth and Lowestoft.

Cefas says the Burnham Relocation Project, involving the transfer of staff and equipment, is a “major plank” in its transformation programme.

The main removal effort is planned for the summer, and the building should be empty and fully decommissioned by the end of December.

Dr Lindsay Murray, divisional director and Burnham-on-Crouch senior manager, said the decision to leave the town had “was not taken lightly”.

“Cefas is very sad to be leaving Burnham-on-Crouch after more than 50 years in the town,” she said.

“There are major advantages in terms of our business transformation plans that can be gained by moving, including better links between teams, achieving cost savings and beginning new ways of working, all of which will help Cefas to meet the modern commercial challenges it faces.”

Cefas would be working closely with local councils, the police and its near neighbours to ensure a smooth departure and minimal disruption during the coming months, she said.

“The agency has become very much a part of the local community, so we shall all miss the town and its people. We shall carry many fond memories with us to Suffolk,” she added.

Defra, which presides over Cefas, will handle negotiations and any eventual sale of the Burnham-on-Crouch site once it has been vacated. Cefas said there was “no clarity” yet about who might take over the premises.

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