The UK legislation governing the security of pathogens and toxins in civilian laboratories is contained in part 7 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. Schedule 5 of this Act specifically identifies the pathogens which could potentially be utilised as biological weapons and requires the registration of laboratories with the UK holding this material for research purposes. The Act is implemented through the Home Office's National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO); details can be found at:
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) site at Porton Down undertakes research to provide safe and effective countermeasures for the UK and its armed forces against biological warfare agents, and therefore holds pathogenic agents. The effectively guarded laboratories at Dstl Porton Down have been inspected by NaCTSO and Dstl is fully compliant with the guidance as published by the Home Office.
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) undertake research to provide safe and effective countermeasures for the UK and its armed forces against chemical, biological and radiological warfare agents.
Most of this work is not published and remains protected information on secure systems in secure sites. However, where possible, Dstl and AWE publish some results of their research programme in peer reviewed scientific literature but only after a very detailed internal clearance procedure to ensure that no information is released that will aid terrorism.