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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.

Food under the microscope
The environmental pressure group presented papers to the High Court in London on Friday calling for a judicial review of the government's policy.

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.

'Caught red-handed'

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.

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Internet Links

Friends of the Earth: List of GM crop sites

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Region - Location of GM Trial sites.


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