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Porton Down

Volume 456: debated on Thursday 1 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the nature is of the biological research (a) being undertaken and (b) planned to be undertaken at Porton Down; and if he will make a statement. (101935)

The Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) defence research being conducted by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down is directed towards helping the UK achieve its policy aim of maintaining political and military freedom of action, despite the presence, threat or use of CBRN weapons.

The current nature of the biological research is summarised under the headings of Hazard Assessment, Detection and Diagnostics, and Medical Counter-measures in the UK annual Confidence Building Measures returns to the United Nations. These returns are submitted by the UK in accordance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

The returns for 2003 to 2005 can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at:

The return for 2006 is currently being collated for submission to the UN in April and will be available on the website in due course.

Future directions in CBRN research are set out in the recently published Defence Technology Strategy which can be found on the Ministry of Defence website at:

Copies are also available in the Library of the House.