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6-Regulation: Scottish council overturns GM trial

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TITLE:  Scottish council overturns GM trial
SOURCE: The Times, UK, by Fraser Nelson
DATE:   August 25, 2000

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Scottish council overturns GM trial

THE Highland Council has used its planning permission powers to stop 
Aventis, the multinational drugs giant, from conducting genetically 
modified crop experiments on a farm near Inverness. James Grant, a 
farmer in the Black Isle, was yesterday served a notice banning him 
from sowing so much as one genetically-modified seed without securing 
"change of use" permission from the local council. He must now decide 
whether to appeal, or to carry on with the rape seed trials and risk 
what the Highland Council believes would be criminal proceedings. Mr 
Grant, who runs Roskhill Farm near Munlochy, had secured permission 
for the trials from the Scottish Government, which did not consult 
the Highland Council.

Michael Foxley, head of the Highland Council's land development 
committee, believes this is a test case which will prove whether 
local authorities can quash GM trials which have been approved by 
central Government. "Mr Grant was using the field for arable crops. 
He is now using it for scientific experiments. To us, this is clearly 
a change of use and, like everything else, it needs permission from 
the council,"

Dr Foxley said. The experiment is being organised by Aventis Crop 
Science Limited, which has written to the council emphasising that 
the trials are safe. John Farquhar Munro, MSP for Inverness, has said 
that if the Highland Council fails in its attempt, he will call for 
the devolved Parliament to pass an emergency motion banning new GM 
trials. Mr Grant, who has said that he is being threatened by 
environmental campaigners, was unavailable for comment last night.


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