9 July 2002
Green groups warn of GM pollen spread as more crop tests unveiled
By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent
The location of the last round
of experimental genetically modified crops to be planted in
Michael Meacher, the Environment minister, said the 18 GM oilseed rape projects will be planted in August, many on farms already hosting trials. The results will be used to evaluate whether to allow the commercial growing of GM crops in Britain next year. Sixteen of the sites are in England and two in Scotland.
The Department of the Environment (DoE) said yesterday's announcement gave resident in the planting area six weeks' warning before the GM seeds were sown. "All the seeds in the trials have been through years of rigorous safety tests," a DoE spokesman said. "The trials are to investigate the effects on biodiversity from the farming practices associated with the particular GM crops in the study."
The crops would not be planted
near organic farms. Last month Australian researchers found
Friends of the Earth claimed the Government has found it hard to convince farmers to participate in the last round of "field-scale" trials.
"This final round of GM
experiments contains some very familiar parish names," Pete Riley,
of Friends of the Earth, said. "Many have already hosted trials without
taking into account the
The crops have been vandalised
by environmental groups. Government officials fear farms