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Volume 700: debated on Monday 31 March 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How they propose to develop the e-MERLIN radio-telescope project. [HL2418]

The future of the Jodrell Bank Observatory is a matter for the University of Manchester.

Jodrell Bank is involved in a variety of radio astronomy activities, including the e-MERLIN project. E-MERLIN is the development of a network of seven UK radio telescopes run by the Jodrell Bank Observatory and funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in partnership with the North West Development Agency and the University of Manchester. The STFC has recently undertaken a review of all its existing programmes to make sure that they are delivering, or will deliver, the anticipated science output, and that they continue to represent value for money. The initial results of this review have been subject to consultation with the relevant scientific communities, and the STFC is currently considering the responses it has received. The STFC has yet to take a decision on its future level of support for e-MERLIN. However, the STFC has made it clear that the e-MERLIN project is part of its strategy for radio astronomy and that it is in discussion with its partners about the issues raised by the review.