GENET archive


GMO-FREE REGIONS & POLICY: Scottish Executive intends to maintain GE crop moratorium

                                  PART 1

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SOURCE: Scottish Executive, UK



DATE:   17.07.2007

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The Executive’s intention is to maintain a moratorium on the planting of GM crops in Scotland. GM crops are not grown in Scotland and we believe this respects the wishes of Scottish consumers who want local, high-quality produce. Scotland has a wonderful and varied environment, rich in biodiversity and we do not wish to jeopardise this.

                                  PART 2

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SOURCE: Scottish Executive, UK

AUTHOR: Press Release


DATE:   09.03.2004

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This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007


The Executive today announced that it will take account of public concern over the cultivation of GM crops in Scotland.

While European legislation rules out any outright ban, the Executive is to consult with farmers in framing guidance for the creation of voluntary GM free zones.

The decision by Scottish Ministers takes account of public opinion expressed through the national GM debate and the results of the most extensive scientific trials of GM crops ever held. Ministers also considered a review of GM science and a costs and benefits analysis.

While the decision could allow the commercial cultivation of a single variety of GM maize, subject to strict conditions, there is no prospect of any GM crop being grown in Scotland before spring 2005 at the earliest.

The Executive will work to ensure that effective arrangements are in place to protect conventional crops before any GM cultivation can take place and will take action to protect consumer choice.We will also explore the possibilities for voluntary GM free zones.

Deputy Environment and Rural Development Minister Allan Wilson said:

”Our primary concern throughout the lengthy process of gathering evidence on GM crops has been to safeguard human health and the environment.

”Today’s decision does not change this in any way. We will not allow crops to be grown in Scotland where there is evidence of increased harm.

”There is no green light for GM crops in Scotland. The GM debate made clear that the public are uneasy about GM and that there is little support for early commercialisation of GM crops in Scotland. We have listened to the public’s views.

”It is clear too that there is no simple yes/no when it comes to GM. There is no evidence to support a wholesale ban. Neither do we have the powers to do so. Equally it is important that we do not close the door on a potentially beneficial technology.

”The most rigorous labelling and traceability regulations anywhere in the world will ensure that consumers will have a choice. As part of our cautious and precautionary approach to all GM matters, we will ensure that customers who wish to avoid GM products will be able to do so.

”We will work with all interested parties to ensure that measures are in place to ensure that farmers will be able to continue to meet consumer demand for conventional and/or organic crops.

”We will work with farmers to explore mechanisms to establish GM free zones where that is what farmers want. We will continue to review all applications for commercial cultivation on a case by case basis and on the scientific evidence available to us.”

In May 2002 the Secretary of State announced that the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations would sponsor a national GM Debate. The aim was to create a dialogue between all strands of opinion on GM, to deepen public understanding of the issues surrounding GM technology, and to improve the evidence base to enable informed decisions to be made. It comprised three main components:

- a public debate, managed by an independent steering board

- a review of the scientific issues relating to GM crops and food

- a study into the overall costs and benefits of GM crops

All three strands have now submitted their final reports and these have been carefully considered by the Executive and the other UK administrations. A joint response by the UK Government and Devolved Administrations to the key issues raised during the GM Dialogue was published today.

The Executive also considered other available evidence, including advice from the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) on the implications of the results of the farm-scale evaluations of GM crops and the Report on ’Co-existence and Liability’ prepared by the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission (AEBC).

In relation to the three spring sown crops ACRE has advised that growing conventional beet and oil seed rape was better for many for many groups of wildlife than growing GM herbicide-tolerant varieties. However, in relation to maize the reverse was true and growing GM maize was better for many groups of wildlife than growing conventional maize.

No GM crop can be grown in the EU unless it has specifically been approved for release under Directive 2001/18/EC. Under the Directive each crop is subjected to a comprehensive assessment of the possible risks to human health and the environment, on the basis of the scientific evidence.

Decisions to approve or reject individual crops are taken collectively by EU Member States and the Commission.

>From April, new European regulations on traceability and labelling and food and feed will come into force which will require food or feed products which contains any approved GM material or derivative to be labelled.

The exception is where such presence is adventitious or technically unavoidable in which case a threshold of 0.9 per cent will apply.



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