UK Government

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (London): Your chance to question Government's science advisers

Press Release   •   Oct 15, 2010 12:23 BST

Members of the public will have the chance to meet scientists who advise the Government and guide decisions on key scientific matters at London Zoo next week.

On 20 October the Scientific Advisory Council, which provides independent scientific advice to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will open its doors to the public during its sixth annual open meeting. The meeting at London Zoo will be an opportunity for interested members of the public to see the council at work, meet its members and find out more about the activities and the scientific challenges faced by the group.

The Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council, Professor Chris Gaskell, said:

"The Scientific Advisory Council has a fundamental role to play in providing independent, impartial and timely science advice to Defra which underpins effective policy making.

"The council's annual meeting offers a valuable chance for members of the public and scientific community to gain an insight into the workings of the group, meet the council's 12 members and listen to the discussions. Everyone is welcome and I would like to encourage interested parties to attend."

The meeting will start at 10am and close at 4.30pm. Key issues to be discussed include: how science is helping Defra respond to risks associated with the environment and human, animal and plant health; and how mathematical and statistical evidence can be used and shared effectively across the Defra network to inform policy development.

It is free to attend but registration on the council's website or by email is essential. Full programme details and meeting papers will be available online ahead of the meeting.

Notes to Editors

1. The Scientific Advisory Council website:
2. The Scientific Advisory Council email address:
3. The Scientific Advisory Council is an independent non-departmental public body established in February 2004 by Defra. Its purpose is to provide the department with expert and independent advice on science policy and strategy.
4. The department spends approximately £300 million a year on science which underpins a broad range of policies including environmental protection, farming and food, animal and plant health, and sustainable energy. 
5. Telephone interviews with Professor Chris Gaskell, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council are available in advance. To arrange an interview contact Eleanor Hart in the Defra Press Office on 020 7238 1822.

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