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9-Misc: UK Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors calls forpublic GE register



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TITLE:  PUBLIC HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHERE GM CROPS WILL BE GROWN
SOURCE: Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, UK, Press Release
        http://www.rics.org/ricscms/bin/show?class=PressRelease&template=/
        includes/showpr.html&id=935#
DATE:   June 2, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


PUBLIC HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHERE GM CROPS WILL BE GROWN

RICS WARNS OF CHAOS IN THE COUNTRYSIDE IF A WORKABLE LAND REGISTRATION
SYSTEM IS NOT INTRODUCED

Without a stringent land registration scheme the widespread introduction
of GM (genetically modified) crops, potentially from the 1st August this
year, will cause long-term chaos across rural Britain, warns RICS (Royal
Institution of Chartered Surveyors) speaking on the eve of the launch of
the GM national debate.

Although the Government is obliged, under European law (EC directive
2001/18/EC), to keep a register of those areas where GM crops are being
grown, RICS is concerned that insufficient thought has been given to how
such a register would be drawn up and maintained.

Louis Armstrong, chief executive, RICS, whose members manage most of the
land in rural Britain, says:

"GM crops do not respect boundary lines and this is one of the biggest
problems. People have a right to know if their neighbours are growing GM
crops as it may impact on their future land use decisions and ultimately
the value of their property. This problem is not restricted to the
countryside; people living on the outskirts of urban areas will be
equally affected."

"We must have a system where the location of GM crops is strictly
registered, interested parties notified well in advance of planting and
the public have full access to all information. RICS is yet to be
convinced by the Government that the current plans for a register will
accurately record where GM crops are being grown."

"Even with a land register in place, we can foresee a number of scenarios
where conflicts of interest will occur."

The right to have access to accurate information about where GM crops are
growing or have been grown is essential for:
- A farmer wishing to purchase or rent land for organic or non GM production
- An individual wishing to purchase or lease a property with a garden to
grow organic or non GM vegetables and plants
- Someone wishing to purchase or lease allotments or other land for the
same purpose
- Existing organic or non GM farmers who need to know the farming
intentions of their neighbours
- Financial institutions lending against land and property
- Consumer choice of GM and non GM food and other products

RICS has called for the onus for provision of information about the
location of GM crops to be placed on the organisation applying for the
marketing consent, ie, the relevant biotech company. Such information
should be made publicly available at least two months ahead of planting
on an internet based system and should be based on the largest scale
ordnance survey map.

- Ends - Notes to editors

For further information, please contact Kate Bourne at the RICS press
office on 020 7334 3775, kbourne@rics.org.uk

RICS represents 100,000 members: chartered surveyors, technical surveyors
and students and probationers. They operate throughout the world in
sixteen faculties:
residential property, commercial property, project management,
construction, building surveying, valuation, dispute resolution, plant
and machinery, rural, facilities management, environment, geomatics,
antiques and fine arts, planning and development, management consultancy,
minerals and waste management.




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