BGS news

Chancellor announces £31 million for subsurface research

19/01/2015 By BGS Press
Three-dimensional model of the subsurface.
Three-dimensional model of the subsurface.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne last week announced that the Government will allocate £31 million of funding to create world-class subsurface research test centres through the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). This will establish world-leading knowledge which will be applicable to a wide range of energy technologies including shale gas and carbon capture and storage.

The project will develop two subsurface research centres that will be run by NERC’s British Geological Survey (BGS). These will be world-leading facilities for research, technology and monitoring of the subsurface which will provide openly available data for academia, industry and regulators.

The Chancellor announced the project at the Thornton Science Park, part of the University of Chester, where the first site is expected to be located. The second site is still to be agreed.

This pioneering system provides an opportunity to improve our understanding of the UK’s underground environment and will ensure it is closely monitored. It will allow us to help provide independent scientific evidence to Government to help it determine future energy policy. The results of this monitoring will be open and made freely available to the public. The next step is for NERC to establish the Project Board, which among other things will develop a full science case and a stakeholder engagement plan.

In a separate project announced last week, the BGS will lead a consortium to independently monitor hydraulic fracturing, subject to planning approvals, at two proposed shale gas exploration sites in Lancashire. All the results of this research will be open and made freely available to the public. For further information on the Lancashire Monitoring Programme:

For further details or to arrange media interviews please contact:

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Free for media use with this acknowledgement: British Geological Survey©NERC

The British Geological Survey

The British Geological Survey (BGS), a component body of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is the nation’s principal supplier of objective, impartial and up-to-date geological expertise and information for decision making for governmental, commercial and individual users. The BGS maintains and develops the nation’s understanding of its geology to improve policy making, enhance national wealth and reduce risk. It also collaborates with the national and international scientific community in carrying out research in strategic areas, including energy and natural resources, our vulnerability to environmental change and hazards, and our general knowledge of the Earth system. More about the BGS can be found at

The Natural Environment Research Council

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the UK’s main agency for funding and managing world-class research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. It coordinates some of the world’s most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, food security, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on earth, and much more. NERC receives around £300 million a year from the government’s science budget, which it uses to fund research and training in universities and its own research centres.

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