6-Regulation: Anti-GM campaigners in Wales cry foul as UK GMO report is 'buried'
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- Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 17:40:16 +0100
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TITLE: GM lobbyists cry foul as major report is 'buried'
SOURCE: The Western Mail, UK, by Ceri Jones
DATE: Jan 10, 2003
------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------
GM lobbyists cry foul as major report is 'buried'
THE row over whether National Assembly members were kept in the dark over a
damning UK government report on genetically modified crops is likely to
continue. Anti-GM campaigners in Wales have written to Michael Meacher,
Minister of State (Environment and Agri-Environment) to ask why Wales's AMs
were not told about the contents of the report before a crucial debate last
month. Plaid Cymru agriculture spokesman Rhodri Glyn Thomas will also
question Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Mike German over whether he knew in
advance about the report.
The report, which could threaten plans to grow GM crops commercially,
revealed that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are interbreeding with
natural crops and weeds. It was released by the Department of the
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on Christmas Eve, just days after AMs
debated the issue. Although in principle in favour of a GM-free Wales, the
Assembly on December 18 voted to accept new regulations relating to the
deliberate release of GMOs in Wales.
GM Free Cymru - which was set up after successful protests against GM crop
trials in Pembrokeshire - has written to Mr Meacher complaining about the
way the report was "buried" on the Defra web site on Christmas Eve, and
asking for an explanation as to why AMs were not told of its contents. "AMs
who debated the Draft GM Regulations on 18 December say that they were not
aware, or were not made aware, of the existence or the contents of the
report. Why not?" asked Dr Brian John of GM Free Cymru.
"If the information in the report had been made available to AMs on or
before December 18th, we are convinced that the Draft Regulations as tabled
would not have been approved. "We are convinced there is a major conspiracy
here, either within Defra or within the Welsh Assembly."
Mr Thomas, who is due to meet with members of GM Free Cymru today in
Haverfordwest, said he would be questioning Mr German over what he knew. "I
think there is a real issue here as to whether Defra is sharing information
with the Assembly," he said. "And, if it is happening, whether Mike German
is passing on this information to people who have an interest in this
issue. "I want to know whether he knew about the report in advance of the
Assembly debate. If he did, why did he withhold the information. And if he
did not, why not?"
Scientists monitoring British GM crop trials found that genes from oil-seed
rape, engineered to be resistant to herbicides, contaminated conventional
crops up to 200 yards away and also interbred with weeds.
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