Friday, August 20, 1999 Published at 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
GM crop court challenge
There have been protests against GM crop trial farms
Friends of the Earth is challenging a government decision to allow more land to be planted with genetically-modified crops.
FoE says the decision also allows agrochemical firm AgrEvo to change the GM crop being tested without submitting a new application to an advisory committee monitoring the crops.
AgrEvo has planted crops in farm-scale trials to study their effect on wildlife, neighbouring crops and the environment.
The environmental group says the government's decision allows for the amount of land undergoing trials to be quadrupled to an area the size of Southampton. This would mean an increase from 1,250 hectares to 5,000 hectares.
FoE policy director Tony Juniper said: "We have caught the government red-handed. They have tried to bend the law to suit a giant GM company in a hurry to get its crops into the UK market."
No GM crops are grown commercially in the UK, although the government could decide to let companies do so from next year.