The Central Science Laboratory announced today that it is adding the Laboratory Environmental Analysis Proficiency (LEAP) Scheme to its highly respected and internationally successful range of proficiency testing schemes. The LEAP Scheme will fit well with CSL's existing schemes such as FAPAS® and FEPAS®: it provides specialist analytical services to the water, food, beverage and environmental laboratory sectors and is fully compatible with CSL's activities spanning agriculture, environment and food. Furthermore, considerable synergies will be achieved by combining the current strengths of LEAP with the relevant strengths of CSL.

CSL's Proficiency Testing Group runs the internationally respected Food Analysis Performance Assessment Scheme (FAPAS®) for chemical analysis and the Food Examination Performance Assessment Scheme (FEPAS®) for microbiological examination. They benchmark the analytical accuracy of laboratories analysing food, drink and animal feed in over 60 countries and are invaluable tools to compare performance with others in the scheme, demonstrate excellence and to highlight areas for improvement. FAPAS® is the world's largest scheme of its type with the widest range of test materials. The LEAP Scheme was run by ALcontrol, a subsidiary of the Kelda Group (formerly Yorkshire Water). From origins as an internal quality control scheme covering 24 Yorkshire Water laboratories within Yorkshire Water in the 1970s, LEAP was formally established in 1994 after it began accepting external customers. The LEAP Scheme benchmarks the accuracy of laboratories testing drinking water for chemical and microbiological purity, and contaminants in wastewater, effluent, contaminated land and hazardous waste. Now part of it's strong Proficiency Testing Group, CSL plans to build on the success of the LEAP Scheme.

CSL's Chief Executive Peter Stanley welcomed the addition of the scheme to CSL's range "Our ability to offer FAPAS®, FEPAS®, a GMO scheme and now LEAP should provide us with an unbeatable range of services attractive to our specialist laboratory customers, particularly across the food and drinks analysis sectors." Professor Stanley continued "Our experience of running similar proficiency testing schemes will ensure that the transfer of LEAP will happen smoothly and today we have written to LEAP customers explaining the transition and our commitment to proficiency testing services".

Chris Boyes, ALcontrol's UK Managing Director, explained that "While the Kelda Group is divesting its non-core businesses we recognised the specialist value of the LEAP Scheme, and we wished to see the service that we developed over several years survive and prosper with a reputable and credible organisation such as CSL. We thank LEAP clients for their past custom and wish all those associated with the LEAP Scheme every success for the future. We believe that CSL will be a worthy custodian of the LEAP Scheme and look forward to seeing it expand in the future".


Notes for Editors:
  1. CSL became an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food in April 1992, and was re-launched in April 1994 following a merger with the Ministry's Food Science Laboratories. The Agency's prime aim is to provide MAFF with an efficient and competitive range of scientific services including support, training and advice, underpinned by research & development, to meet both statutory and policy objectives in protecting the consumer, safeguarding the food supply and protecting the environment. CSL also seeks to provide, on a commercial basis, services to other Government departments and public and private sector organisations, throughout the world.


  2. The Central Science Laboratory complex at Sand Hutton includes laboratories, office accommodation, greenhouses and growing areas, together with a number of specialist facilities that are unique within Europe, within an overall area of eighty acres.


  3. CSL is a research-based centre of scientific excellence that provides high quality scientific support and advice. The main service areas covered by CSL are:
    • Consumer safety with emphasis on the microbiological, and chemical safety of food; the presence and control of natural toxicants and the quality and nutritional value of food;


    • Safeguarding food supplies through the identification and control of plant pests and diseases and invertebrate pests and the management of vertebrate wildlife;


    • Environmental protection through the investigation of the impact of agriculture on the environment and the promotion of biodiversity in agricultural habitats.
For further information please contact Dr Linda Owen at Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1904 462100, fax: +44 (0)1904 462111 or e-mail: l.owen@csl.gov.uk