Britain to keep Antarctic research group

Nov. 2, 2012 at 2:53 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- A plan to scrap the British Antarctic Survey, an acclaimed scientific institution, was dropped after opposition was voiced, officials said.

The government-funded National Environment Research Council reversed its decision to close down the Antarctic research unit after an outcry from scientists and members of Parliament, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The NERC had proposed merging the British Antarctic Survey with the National Oceanography Center in Southampton.

"The British Antarctic Survey is a national and international asset that delivers world-class environmental science, and this country's strategic presence in Antarctica and the South Atlantic," Science Minister David Willets said.

"The U.K.'s commitment to continuing this dual mission in the region is as strong as ever. Having completed its consultation, NERC Council agreed that it will not proceed with the proposal for merger," he said.

Scientists had argued the merger would deprive Britain of one of its most respected research institutions.

"The government and the NERC should be congratulated for listening to the scientific community and removing the threat to the British Antarctic Survey," said Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change.

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