Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

House of Lords written question – answered on 20th October 2014.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the role of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as (1) a scientific centre, and (2) an educational and outreach centre.

Photo of Lord de Mauley Lord de Mauley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (“Kew”) has a well-deserved global reputation and is widely respected for its pioneering scientific research. The National Heritage Act 1983 defines Kew’s broad objectives and responsibilities, which include scientific research on plants and related subjects; providing related advice, instruction and education; and affording opportunities to the public for the purpose of gaining knowledge.

Defra commissioned an independent review of science at Kew in 2012 to assess the quality, balance, scope, and appropriateness of the programme. This recommended that Kew should develop a clear science strategy and should be very clear where its core strengths lie. Kew’s Director of Science is currently developing a Science Strategy and the results of this should be publicly available in 2015.

The 2012 review noted that Kew showed a good appreciation of the importance of bringing out Kew’s science role to visitors and highlighted the enormous potential for Kew to develop its public awareness and outreach activities. For example, Kew is annually visited by 100,000 children in organised school parties and runs several courses and events per year for the public. Kew is currently reviewing its future plans in relation to its offer to visitors and wider public engagement activity. The aim is to ensure that Kew attracts and engages a larger and wider audience, generates more value from those engagements, and creates a positive impact in relation to public understanding of the importance of plants to everyone’s life.

Defra continues to keep Kew’s performance under review against its Key Performance Indicators, which cover scientific research and visitor numbers, and these are published in Kew’s Annual Report and Accounts.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes2 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.