Sir: Headlines on environmental issues in The Independent have stimulated much correspondence. Letters about the proposals to close several renowned laboratories by NERC's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have rightly protested about the damage that would do to this country's capacity in the environmental sciences, particularly in ecology. We are especially concerned about the prospective impact on freshwater biology.
The decline in this field began N long before NERC's recent announcements and has been going on for at least 25 years. During N the last five years, CEH scientists have been removed from two keys sites-the Freshwater Biological Association's River Laboratory (on the river From in Dorset) and the Ferry House Laboratory on Windermere. The latter offered unrivalled access to research sites in the Lake District and long-term records that are proving invaluable in documenting the impact of climate change.
When CEH scientists were moved from the River Laboratory in 2001- 2002, they were relocated at a brand new, state-of-the art laboratory at Winfrith four miles away. This facility, provided at considerable public expense, is now among the four CEH sites to be closed. …