Dec. 4, 2018
Kevin Hollinrake, Member of Parliament for Thirsk and Malton has officially launched the first fully flow-through, edge of field waterbody safety assessment facility in Europe at an exclusive event in York. The E-Flows mesocosm, a ground breaking project designed and developed by Translational science and research organisation Fera Science Ltd in partnership with CHAP (Centre for Crop Health and Protection) and supported by Innovate UK, will be managed and operated by Fera for use by the chemical industry and researchers, supporting the race to support the protection of natural capital and our environment.
The new E-Flows mesocosm has been in development for two years and will allow the examination of simulations of natural aquatic environments under controlled conditions. This form of higher tier testing will enable the agri-chemical industry, particularly those developing plant protection products such as pesticides, to demonstrate whether their products pose any risk to aquatic environments.
Providing a test-bed of 60 realistic streams, each of up to two metres wide and ten metres long, the flow of each stream in the E-Flows mesocosm can be varied independently so that they can be fast flowing like a stream, slow following like a ditch or even almost still, like a pond, giving researchers complete flexibility and control.
“Historically, many standard mesocosms lack the scale, water flow and realism of real-life aquatic environments as they tend to be relatively small and unable to support the abundance of biodiversity needed to meet regulatory requirements,” explained Dr Rachel Benstead, senior aquatic ecotoxicologist at Fera Science. “Many of those currently available are static or simply recirculate water, which is not a true representation of what happens out in the field, where fresh water is continuously flowing.
“Our E-Flows mesocosm is supplied with a continuous flow-through of aged, fresh water. Combined with its significantly large size, we are able to better support the diverse aquatic communities, ensuring testing will be fairer, more flexible and representative of real life, providing the best possible opportunities for leading research in agriculture.”
Dr Andrew Swift, CEO of Fera Science, added: “The E-Flows mesocosm is a ground-breaking facility that will support the protection of natural capital and our environment. We are delighted to have been able to launch the facility with the Kevin Hollinrake MP, who continues to be supportive of the work both Fera and our partners deliver.”
Kevin Hollinrake MP, officially launched the E-Flows mesocosm at an exclusive event at Fera Science’s testing facility in York. Following presentations from the team behind the development of the mesocosm, guests were then provided with a tour around the facility.
‘It was an honour to open the E-Flow Mesocosm at Sand Hutton,” said Kevin Hollinrake MP. “I’m fully supportive of all the work CHAP and its partners, like Fera, are doing here. The day was quite an eye-opener and made me realise just how important it is to use science and technology to help increase crop productivity, reduce costs and protect our environment.”
“In the last three weeks we have had six active ingredients withdrawn from the market by the European Parliament, added John Chinn, board chair at CHAP. “Had this facility been available five years ago, these ingredients would have been put through the facility and we would have ensured that they were withdrawn only if there is a risk to the environment.
“As it is they have been withdrawn based on a modelling exercise which has said there may be a risk”.
This new investment is set to greatly support not only the agri-chemical industry but all chemical industries, providing high quality regulatory evidence and supporting the development of amongst other chemical compounds novel crop products that are safe for our aquatic environments. Testing will be fairer, more flexible and more representative of real life than ever before, providing the best possible opportunities for leading research.
If you would like more information on the E-flows mesocosm, to arrange a visit and tour to the site or to schedule an interview with a Fera spokesperson, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org