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Research Facilities, Antarctica

Volume 13: debated on Monday 16 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the cost of replacing the National Environmental Research Council research facilities at Halley, Antarctica, and RRS "Shackleton", and if he will also give details of the staff employed on each and the annual wage and salary bill.

The cost of replacing the Natural Environment Research Council's base at Halley Bay, Antarctica, is estimated to be £1·2 million at 1981–82 prices. there are 17 people at Halley Bay at any one time, consisting of a base commander, nine scientists and seven support staff; but allowing for recruitment, overlap and the writing up of research work, the base absorbs 25 man-years of effort, per annum, the annual salary and wage cost of which is £180,000 at the same price base.The cost of replacing RRS "Shackleton" cannot be estimated until tenders for a proposed replacement vessel have been received and evaluated. This is unlikely to be before early 1982. At sea, RRS "Shackleton" has a crew of 11 officers and 16 ratings, the annual salary and wage cost of whom is £289,000 at the same price base. The salaries of the embarked scientists, who change over frequently, are paid by their parent universities or other institutions.