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Friday, April 9, 1999 Published at 02:23 GMT 03:23 UK


UK

GM crop trial 'illegal'

FoE wants 25 acres of GM crop seeds ploughed up

The UK's first farm-scale trial of genetically-modified crops should be ploughed up, environmental campaigners have told the government.

Food under the microscope
Friends of the Earth said the planting was illegal because the firm behind the crops at Lushill Fram, near Swindon, Wiltshire, failed to inform local people that the planting was taking place.

Under rules laid down by the Department of the Environment any company carrying out a trial must ensure that local people are made fully aware with advertisements in the local press.


Peter Riley of the Friends of the Earth: Local people were not informed
But Friends of the Earth said that AgrEvo had published details in the Gloucestershire Echo - a newspaper not widely read in the trial area and not available in the newspaper shop of the nearest town.

The company was informed of the situation by FoE and it now plans to advertise in the Swindon Evening News.

But it said that it had no plans to halt the trial.

A spokesman for the biotechnology company said: "We took information from a local source about which paper would be best to place a public notice about the site.

'Decisive action'

"There has been no breach of the regulations but as an act of good faith when FoE came to us we agreed to post the notice again."

But the campaign group has written to Environment Minister Michael Meacher calling on him to order that the crop be ploughed up.

FoE food campaigner Peter Riley said: "The government must take decisive action and stop these farm-scale trials from going ahead until the correct procedures have been followed."

The trial site measures 25 acres and is planted with oilseed rape.

Four trials are expected to be held to assess the environmental impact of growing GM herbicide resistant rape and maize.

The government has been urged to halt the sale of GM foods while more tests are carried out.



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Internet Links


AgrEvo

Friends of the Earth

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food


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