An animal health research centre near Truro will close despite earlier reassurances it would stay open.
The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories (AHVLA) at Polwhele will close early next year, it has been confirmed today.
AHVLA said the closure was part of plans to improve the coverage of disease surveillance across the country.
The closure has been welcomed by Camborne and Redruth MP George Eustice, now Defra’s Farming Minister.
Rupert Hine, AHVLA’s Director of Veterinary Surveillance, said: “The new model will improve the effectiveness of surveillance by making better use of the expertise of private vets, universities and the livestock industry as well as retaining the existing AHVLA veterinary network.”
There is no specific mention of the Truro centre in the statement issued by AHVLA but a spokesman confirmed it would close in early 2014 with the loss of “between one and three full-time jobs”.
Conservative MP Mr Eustice said: “I welcome this new approach to surveillance. Detection of new diseases and improving our resilience to them is a key part of safeguarding animal health.
“It is a responsibility shared by the farming industry and government, and I fully support this vision of partnership working, sharing skills and expertise to manage disease risk and support our livestock farming industry.”
AHVLA said statutory disease surveillance, such as testing for tuberculosis in cattle and exotic disease investigations, would be unaffected by the changes.
Fears for the future of the Truro centre were first reported in the West Briton in 2011.
After concerns were raised by Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Defra issued a statement in June 2011 which said: “Defra is doing a review of our estates and we have announced a few sites that are going to be closed, but Polwhele is not on this list.
“Following the merger of the AHVLA agencies, they too are looking to reduce the size of their estate and have published a further list of sites that are under review, as their leases are close to their expiry date. Again, Polwhele does not feature on this list.”