The European Union Environment Council have voted yes on a proposal that could see GM crops planted in U.K. fields next year. The U.K. Government strongly favours GM technology, but the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales are opposed. Two varieties of Roundup Ready maize are poised for authorisation.
Climate disruption, population growth and rising costs of food staples means the UK must start producing more from the land, the prime minister was urged in a letter recommending more field trials for GM crops.
But GM Freeze Director Liz O’Neill said the proposal was flawed: “E.U. Environment Ministers have waved through a deeply flawed proposal to the next stage because Owen Paterson and friends think it’s more important to get GM crops into the ground than to protect people’s right to say ‘No’. The legal basis for so called ‘national opt-outs’ is questionable at best, and even if a country or region does manage to establish a ban they will find it very difficult to protect their fields and food from contamination if their neighbours start growing GM.”
The European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) said after over 15 years of cultivation, there was no compelling evidence that GM crops posed any harm to humans or the environment. The CST said such crops could be more nutritious with increased levels of amino acids or improved soil composition, reducing the need for dietary supplements.
The Environment Secretary Owen Paterson also gave his support to GM crops in a speech last year. “The use of GM could be as transformative as the original agricultural revolution was. The UK should be at the forefront of that now, as it was then.”
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