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Camden New Journal Article / Work started / jobs pledge

Camden_Lab by Stop Camden Animal Lab [Mandy Ford] | 06.03.2009 12:44 | Animal Liberation | Bio-technology | Social Struggles | South Coast | World

There are plans to build a so-called "Super Virus" Lab in Camden alongside St Pancars International, behind the British Library on a Camden Council house estate. This has been opposed by MI5, MPs, councillors, residents and businesses. The Camden New Journal has printed an article this week on developments at the site where work has started, without planning permission yet.

The Camden New Journal has this week printed an article saying that "exploratory work" [their inverted commas] has started on the site at Brill Place. Soil engineers, Northwest Holst are doing the work there on behalf of UKCMRI based on Euston Road and who are the consortium behind the lab. The lab is backed by the MRC, Wellcome Trust, UCL and Cancer Research.
The consortium have ruled out the building of homes in defiance of the council's planning brief calling for 50% social housing. The govt appear to be backing the lab and could well over rule / over turn any decision made by the council to oppose planning permission. Many members of the Camden Council are against the lab plans.
The lab which could be a level 3 facility has been criticised by MI5 on safety grounds. As a level 3 facility it is true that the lab could hold deadly infectious diseases such as anthrax. The consortium has pledged to "create hundreds of jobs" and "skills training" for many of the tenants on the deprived Somers Town council estate where many people do not even have basic reading and writing skills. Many local people are cynical about actually being one of these "hundreds of jobs" in the high security lab. The consortium have also pledged that all staff will be "carefully vetted" to work at the so called "28 Days Later / anthrax lab".
Fay Gillot, programme director of the UKCMRI sought to allay security fears around the lab and said "We're not going to build brick walls around it; we want it to remain open, there have to be security barriers but we don't want them to be too heavy. It will have to be the sort of place you can enter.".
They have pledged employment for 1,500 people as scientists and jobs for another 300 - 400 catering staff.
Local people do not believe that the consortium will give these jobs to local people.
Atsuko McCarthy of Somers Town says, "I do not believe that building a superlab would bring employment opportunites to local people" and pointed out that other big local projects that promised work to local people did not give many jobs to locals as was promised. Atsuko pointed out that local people can hope for little more than jobs sweeping the floor.

We have submitted a petition to the govt where the govt replied and said that are ruling out the use of cats, dogs and primates at the lab.

We have been in discussion with leading community figures about finding viable, achievable alternatives for the community on the proposed lab site and on Hampstead Raod including a project to help vulnerable young people remain in education. We are asking that a mixed development in keeping with the council's own planning brief be acheived for Brill Place, which would include shops, cafes and restaraunts alongside St Pancras International with flats and community facilties to be included.
We have asked that the Hampstead Road site be used for an education project for vulnerable young people.

We should point out that we are an inclusive, community based residents campaign rather than an "animal rights" campaign. We do not support "direct action" in the form of bombings, arson or any form of violent and threatening actions.
Our supporters include people who are vegetarian or vegan and others who are not. We want our campaign to be one where members of the community can campaign safely and with respect towards one another.
We are residents on the Regents Park and Somers Town estates, however anyone from Camden is of course welcome to campaign with us. We only support legal and peaceful campaigning.

We can be found at and on community Facebook pages.

Written enquiries can be sent to
Stop Camden Animal Lab
c/o 102 Caledonian Road
Kings Cross
N1 9DN

Mandy Ford at Stop Camden Animal Lab

Camden_Lab by Stop Camden Animal Lab [Mandy Ford]
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