Public Health England to move labs to Essex

Public Health England's labs are moving to Essex from Wiltshire, Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed. The investment will see part of Public Health England move from its existing ageing facilities at Porton Down into the new labs at Harlow, to continue their vital work in tackling some of the biggest issues in public health.

The £350m move will initially see 900 workers relocating from Porton Down in Wiltshire to the former GlaxoSmithKline laboratories in Harlow.

“Moving PHE from their current facilities into new labs here in Harlow is not only the right thing to do for the future of health research, but it’s the right decision for the taxpayer. I look forward to seeing the development of these world-class facilities and the important role they’ll play in keeping Britain safe”

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

New facilities jn a perfect location for Life Sciences

The new facilities, based on the site currently owned by GSK, will create a centre for research, health improvement and protection working on international health threats, such as Ebola.

"It will also contribute to the Enterprise Zone developments in Harlow and the new world-class public health labs link perfectly with its MedTech focus, as well as increasing the attractiveness of the town for businesses in the science and health sector.  We want the world's best scientists and researchers to work here in Harlow but we also want to improve higher education and the educational and career opportunities for local people. Having world-class labs in Harlow will help to do just that”

Cllr Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council

This move will further reinforce Harlow's growing reputation as a science-led town, a reputation started in the 60’s with the development of Fibre Optic Technology by Nobel prize winner Charles Kao at Standard Telecommunication Laboratories (STL) and continuing today with the development of Harlow Enterprise Zone development, a new development for advanced manufacturing and life sciences/medical technology businesses.

Harlow and the London/Stansted/Cambridge Corridor

Harlow, a major town in West Essex, is at the heart of the London/Stansted/Cambridge Life Sciences corridor which has seen two of the most significant public investments in life sciences research in the UK in the past 50 years totaling £1 Billion in Public Investment. 

The Harlow Enterprise Zone

Harlow Enterprise Zone is capitalising upon two of the town’s existing strengths – Advanced Manufacturing and Life Sciences. The Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus, to be located on the Enterprise Zone, will provide one of the world’s largest health innovation spaces for companies of all sizes. It will also have a focus on IT with the establishment of a new business park and data centre complex.

Harlow, a great business location

Harlow is a superb location for business, located between London and Cambridge, with the Enterprise Zone site less than 5 minutes from the M11. Fast train connections mean that London Liverpool Street can be reached in 35 minutes. The town is just 15 minutes from Stansted Airport with its extensive connections throughout Europe and its global freight business.

Life sciences sector in Essex

Essex has strong life sciences sector and is an ideal place to locate a Life Sciences business. Half of existing firms in the sector have been located here for over ten years – and have no plans to leave.

Those companies tell us that there are a range of advantages to locating in Essex including . . .

  1. Ideal strategic location, including proximity to London and Cambridge, and easy access to European and international markets
  2. Excellent national and international infrastructure and transport systems
  3. Access to a skilled labour market and Research and Development centres of excellence
  4. Supportive national and local policy framework
  5. Availability of high quality factory space

[Sources ]

David Rooke
David Rooke

Location Services Director

+44 (0) 7989 380435


In a career spanning over 30 years David’s experience includes large-scale factory management and 17 years in inward investment. David has worked with a wide range of major corporates and organisations in the UK and overseas, advising on inward investment projects, business relocations, expansion and consolidation projects.