The Westlakes Science and Technology Park is situated near Whitehaven. Planned as a vehicle for the creation of new jobs in West Cumbria, the park and its many corporate structures are heavily promoted as being independent of their neighbour Sellafield. However, since its opening in the early 1990’s, the park has survived to a large degree on BNFL money, with many departments staffed by BNFL scientists and equipped with BNFL instrumentation.
The park’s first tenant was BNFL’s own genetics laboratory which was moved in its entirety from Sellafield to Westlakes. A majority of the other businesses now operating as tenants of the park are companies with varying degrees of connection with Sellafield and the nuclear industry in general. One such entity is the Westlakes Research Institute which carries out research into the genetic effects of radiation as well as other environmental research. A DNA bank, collecting blood from an estimated 8000 West Cumbrian new-born babies over a five year period was started at the Research Institute some years ago in collaboration with Newcastle Hospital.
Records from Companies House show a significant BNFL involvement in the Boards of Directors of the companies that make up Westlakes, the Research Institute and its supporting corporations.