Research (South Dorset)

Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd November 1992.

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Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce , South Dorset 12:00 am, 23rd November 1992

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much Government-funded research is carried out in South Dorset.

Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West

My hon. Friend's constituency of South Dorset has a wide range of important Government-funded research facilities. They are as follows: the Defence Research Agency at Southwell, Portland and Holton Heath; AEA Technology at Winfrith; MAFF Fish Diseases Laboratory at Weymouth; the NERC Institute of Freshwater Ecology at Wareham; and the NERC Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, also at Wareham.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce , South Dorset

I thank my right hon. Friend for that excellent list and for the research that he has done. Will he reflect that although we have an immediate problem with the reduction of military research and the research at AEA Technology, Winfrith, we have a long-term opportunity for both Government and private industry to come down and use this excellent centre of research in my constituency?

Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West

I strongly support what my hon. Friend says. The list shows the strength and depth of the scientific resources and the people involved in science and technology in his constituency. They constitute a major national asset.

Photo of Michael Connarty Michael Connarty , Falkirk East

As the Government have decided today to abandon one source of energy research—fast breeder programme—what money is being given and will be given to examining the potential for energy from bio-fuels? Can the Minister give us some idea of the key areas in that field which his new Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology will be targeting?

Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West

The ending of the long research programme on fast breeders has been judged broadly as being the right decision, sad though it is. I note the comments of Lord Marshall of Goring on that in the newspapers today. There is other work going on, and on the very matter that the hon. Gentleman mentioned—bio-mass—early work is being done and more will no doubt be done in the future.