Wednesday, August 18, 1999 Published at 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
Kennedy calls for tougher GM restrictions
Charles Kennedy is visiting a test site in Berkshire
Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has called for tougher restrictions on the growing of genetically-modified crops.
The Liberal Democrats want to widen the public debate on GM foods while introducing stricter guidelines for trial sites in the UK.
Mr Kennedy said: "The government must come clean over GM crops being grown for commercial use.
"Only then can we be confident that decisions on future use are properly informed."
The proposals to be debated at the party's upcoming conference include:
The policy paper, Keeping the Balance, also considers other issues such as human cloning and gene patent laws although it concentrates mainly on the GM issue.
He said the government, which announced four new trial sites earlier this week, was "failing and failing badly" on meeting concerns in public opinion.
Mr Kennedy is visiting the Berkshire site with Friends of the Earth activists as well as scientists.
Besieged by activists
Four companies involved in GM crops have told the BBC that nearly half of their trial sites in East Anglia have been destroyed by environmental activists.
Several companies developing GM crops have warned they may move their research abroad if British trials are not adequately protected from activists.
Many European countries - unlike the UK - refuse to disclose the exact locations of trials.
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