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UK launches new environmental risk research centre

The government last week announced that it has teamed up with UK business school Cranfield University to launch a new research centre dedicated to assessing environmental risks and the threats posed to the UK by natural disasters.

The new Centre of Excellence in Understanding and Managing Natural and Environmental Risk will receive £1.3m in funding over the next three years from Defra, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, and the Natural Environment Research Council.

Speaking to, a spokeswoman for Defra said the new centre would operate in addition to the recently announced new flood warning centre and would assess environmental risks that could impact any aspect of the department's remit.

"The work done by the centre will look at flood risks, but it will also include work on animal health risks and climate change," she explained.

She added that the research would be fed into the government's policy development and would also be used to develop risk assessment best practices for use across the public sector.

Professor Robert Watson, chief scientific adviser for Defra, welcomed the launch of the new centre, arguing that it would prove a "major asset" for both Defra and other government departments.

"This new centre will be at the forefront of finding ways to assess the risks of issues like flooding and animal and plant diseases and will improve Defra's ability to compare different types of risk and their impacts," he said.

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