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Thursday, July 29, 1999 Published at 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK


No regrets over GM protest - Melchett

Lord Melchett was arrested at the protest

Greenpeace chief Lord Melchett has said he does not regret being arrested and held in custody over his protest against genetically-modified crops.

The Labour peer was freed on bail on Wednesday, having been detained since Monday at Knox Road jail, Norwich.

Lord Melchett defends his actions: "These trials are not scientific, not needed and do threaten the environment"
He was one of 28 Greenpeace protesters charged after the alleged attack on a GM crop trial farm at Lyng, Norfolk, but was the only one held in custody.

He said he believed a lot of people supported his action in trying to stop "a very serious threat to the environment".

[ image: Greenpeace used a mower to cut down the crops]
Greenpeace used a mower to cut down the crops
"I was very pleased that we managed to remove some of the genetic pollution," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Asked whether he would do the same thing again, Lord Melchett, 51, said: "I'm not going to rule anything out, I don't know what's going to happen."

He said he hoped the government would reconsider its position on GM testing.

"The chemical industry think they have some sort of private right to plant this stuff and cause this pollution to the environment and this threat," he said.

Strict bail conditions

"I think the public have a right to protect the environment. I hope the government will listen and re-think."

A judge sitting in chambers agreed to release him on bail, subject to stringent conditions which include him having to stay away from a number of GM sites.

After spending a few days making sure the other campaigners arrested are "all OK", he will join his family in Tanzania on a scuba diving trip.

All those charged are accused of criminal damage to a crop of maize, and of trying to remove some of the crops.

Lord Melchett, of Hunstanton, Norfolk, entered no pleas and the case was adjourned until 5 August. The cost of the damage to the crops has been estimated at £750.

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