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Friday, 7 September, 2001, 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK
High Court bid by biotech firm
GM crop trial BBC
The company are involved in a number of trials
Biotech company Aventis has appeared at the High Court in London to stop the UK Government forcing it to disclose the risks of genetically modified crop trials.

UK ministers want the company to reveal the health and environmental impacts of a chemical used in its experimental crop growing programme.

However, the company is seeking a judicial review.

Several trials are taking place throughout Britain, including a number in the north of Scotland.

Clive Rainbird, a spokesman for Aventis, said the firm was fighting the order on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.

"The reason why Aventis and the whole of the crop protection industry were very worried about this because the information the Pesticides Safety Directorate was willing to give out was very commercially sensitive," he said.

Campaigners against GM food said it was essential the risks of the herbicide used are made public.

Midnight deadline

Friends of the Earth put pressure on Westminster to reveal both the health and environmental impacts of the chemical, known as GA.

Opposition to the trials has been fierce and a demonstration against one experiment near Munlochy on the Black Isle is ongoing.

The UK Government announced a midnight deadline on Friday for the company to reveal the information.

Friends of the Earth said the court bid by Aventis was evidence of the length the company would go to keep its activities from public scrutiny.

In March this year, the government unveiled 58 new trial sites for GM crops, three in Scotland and the biggest concentration of 11 in Lincolnshire.

The trial sites involve 26 for beet - 11 fodder and 15 sugar - and 32 for spring oilseed rape. They are due to be planted in the autumn.

Fiona Walker reports
"The company wants to prevent information being made public about a herbicide it plans to use on GM trials in Scotland"
See also:

21 Aug 01 | Scotland
Ministers approve GM crop trials
18 Apr 01 | Scotland
GM farmer pulls out after 'threats'
28 Mar 01 | Scotland
Anger over new GM crop trials
01 Mar 01 | UK
GM trials spark fresh row
23 Jan 01 | Scotland
Politicians back GM crop trials
03 Aug 00 | Scotland
New GM trial sites
16 Jul 00 | UK
GM protestors invade field
20 Jun 00 | Scotland
Flaw discovered in GM crop trial
09 Jun 00 | Scotland
'No harm' from GM crops
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