The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership holds over 2.4 billion seeds from around 40,000 different species. The aim is to ensure that species can be germinated and re-introduced if they become extinct in the wild. The samples are also available for research purposes.
The project was awarded a Millennium Commission grant in 1995 and is located at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex which operates as an outpost of Kew Gardens. The vault was formally opened in 2005. On the surface are laboratories and exhibitions and beneath are underground chambers maintained at around minus 20 degrees centigrade. Public access can be arranged although this usually only includes the surface buildings.