Friday, September 17, 1999 Published at 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Government acted illegally on GM
GM crops have faced sustained opposition from campaigners
Green campaigners have scored a victory over ministers after the government announced it was wrong to allow changes to a trial of genetically-modified food.
Mr Meacher also said that despite the fact legality of the crop planting had been successfully contested by Friends of the Earth, he believed the trials of autumn oil seed rape should not be dug up.
Friends of the Earth have already said they will seek a court order to have the crops removed.
They also insist that the company, which planted the crops last week, could not have acted in good faith as it must have already been aware of the legal challenge to its trials.
The pressure group's biotech campaigner Peter Riley told BBC News Online: "Michael Meacher can hardly argue that they weren't aware of this legal challenge to their crop trials."
He said the company had been aware of the legal challenge since August.
They also challenged the decision to quadruple the area of land used and double the length of the trial from six months to one year.
Mr Meacher said: "Following legal advice the government has decided not to contest the judicial review proceedings instigated by Friends of the Earth in respect of licensing of certain GM trials."
"It is absolutely vital that we have these trials. They will tell us what effect, if any, growing GM crops may, or may not have, on Britain's wildlife."
"That proposal has not changed. This year is a dry run, a preparation for the next three years.
"We need to be sure that the statistics and methodology are all properly in place, that the requirements of the scientific steering committee were fully met, so that statistically valid conclusions can be drawn from sowing in 25 fields per crop over the next three years."
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