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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 June 2006, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
New marine laboratory is planned
The petition called for withdrawal from Europe's fishing policy
The laboratory aims to secure the future of marine research
A multi-million pound laboratory complex is being planned to house the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS).

The new centre will be built in Lowestoft, Suffolk, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said on Tuesday.

It said the aim was to secure the long-term future of the laboratory.

Defra minister Jeff Rooker said the laboratory would keep the UK in the "forefront of marine research".

He added: "The agency's work benefits us all by enhancing the environment in our seas, managing their natural resources and protecting us from aquatic contamination.

"At the same time the development will help breathe new life into an urban area which will benefit from regeneration."

The new laboratory, which will replace existing sites at Lowestoft and Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, is due to open by 2009.

The laboratory is being planned in partnership with Suffolk County Council, Waveney District Council and the East of England Development Agency.

The CEFAS laboratory at Weymouth in Dorset is not affected and will remain open.

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