Nearly 700 jobs are to move to Porton Down in Wiltshire

Nearly 700 jobs are being moved to a military research laboratory at Porton Down in Wiltshire.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) announced that it is closing its Fort Halstead site near Sevenoaks, Kent, following a review.

About 670 jobs will be relocated to Porton Down near Salisbury and a further 170 will go to Portsmouth West near Portsmouth.

The relocation programme is expected to take about five years.

MP 'fighting'

Dstl is an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

It is the largest scientific organisation within government, employing more than 3,500 scientists, technologists and engineers.

The future of 800 staff at the Health Protection Agency (HPA) at Porton Down remains uncertain.

Salisbury Conservative MP John Glen, said: "I expect the jobs at HPA Porton to remain too and I'm fighting for that.

"Whilst I'm pleased and delighted that Dstl is going to have these jobs moving from Sevenoaks I'll be fighting for the HPA too."

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