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Friday, 10 March, 2000, 21:48 GMT
'Sites found' for GM farm trials
crop
The government is looking for about 75 test sites
Full-scale trials of genetically-modified crops look certain to go ahead after it emerged that enough farm sites have been found to carry out the experiments.

It had been reported last month that the Scientific Steering Committee - the trial site organisers - were "struggling" to find enough farmers willing to take part in the controversial tests.


If these trials go ahead it will be a potential tragedy for the environment

Greenpeace UK
But a Cabinet Office spokeswoman said the SSC had met and decided there were enough sites for the trials to proceed.

The government had been looking to pick about 75 sites, from a pool of 150, for the next stage of the three-year trials.

Seven trials carried out in 1999 proved extremely controversial - two being destroyed by protestors and one by the farmer himself.

The next set of trials will assess the impact of GM crops on plants and insects in the area, and be used to decide whether GM produce should be grown commercially in the UK.

However Peter Melchett, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: "If these trials go ahead it will be a potential tragedy for the environment.

Farmers urged 'think again'

He added: "Britain will be bombarded with GM pollen without any regard for wildlife, people, or GM-free farmers.

"The whole process has been nothing short of genetic tyranny with an almost complete absence of public consultation."

A Friends of the Earth spokesman urged farmers who had volunteered for the trials to "think again".

He said: "Farmers who have signed up for these very large trials should realise that they have also signed up to a packet of potential problems.

"Issues such as liability for cross-pollination of neighbouring crops and contamination of honey have not been resolved. The main beneficiaries of GM crops could well be lawyers rather farmers."
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See also:

11 Nov 99 | Sci/Tech
GM crop trials leap in size
15 Dec 99 | Sci/Tech
Farmers urged to abandon GM trials
17 Aug 99 | Sci/Tech
Wildlife adviser backs GM trials
27 Aug 99 | UK Politics
GM trials go ahead
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