19 May 2002
GM crop protesters to be silenced
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Secret plans are being prepared
to stop Britons challenging the safety of GM crops at public
The internal memorandum circulating
in the Department for
the Environment, Food and Rural
The disclosure comes as public hearings open in London tomorrow over corn developed by Aventis, the first GM variety grown commercially here. Environmentalists, including Friends of the Earth, are challenging this.
The document urges the Government
to "proceed rapidly" to amend the law, straight after
The Government's move follows proposals to stop the public challenging the need for nuclear waste dumps, and other controversial developments, at public inquiries.
Last night, Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth said: "The Government pretends to be neutral ... but this memo unveils the real agenda, to force GM food on to a reluctant public, while removing the only legal opportunity to object."
Meanwhile, Tony Blair will warn scientists this week that they have to do more to persuade the public of the benefits of scientific advances. The Prime Minister has previously warned that Britain was in danger of developing an "anti-science" culture.