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Last Updated: Friday, 5 March, 2004, 13:14 GMT
Greens call for GM crops rethink
The executive has been asked to re-think plans to grow GM maize
The Scottish Executive has faced a fresh call to prevent GM crops being planted in Scotland.

It follows a Westminster committee report which advises the UK Government not to plant GM maize commercially until new tests are carried out.

It said three years of farm trials were unsatisfactory and based on an invalid comparison.

Green MSP Mark Ruskell said the findings should be enough to persuade the executive not to plant GM crops.

Commons report

In its report, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee concluded GM field trials were flawed, no liability regime was in place and any decision to go ahead with planting would be "irresponsible".

It said the trials on the maize were invalid, because the ordinary maize used as a comparison in tests with its GM equivalent was sprayed with a powerful weed killer, atrazine, which is about to be banned across the European Union.

Mr Ruskell now wants to use these findings to persuade the executive to exercise its veto and block the commercialisation of the man-made plant north of the border.

The results suggest that in the short-term the banning of Atrazine will not invalidate the conclusions of the FSE with respect to GM maize
Scottish Executive spokesman
He has put down a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for the report to be taken into account and hopes to gather support from across the parties - especially from the Liberal Democrats.

"My message to the executive and in particular its Lib Dem partners, is 'wake up!'" said Mr Ruskell.

"It is now time for the executive to act in the best interests of Scottish farmers and consumers, as well as protecting the wider environment.

"First Minister Jack McConnell must act now to veto the addition of GM maize to the UK seed list.

'Industry's expense'

"We agree that we should act in line with scientific evidence and the weight of evidence is against the commercialisation of GM crops."

A spokesman for the executive said it welcomed the publication of the new research.

"The results suggest that in the short-term the banning of Atrazine will not invalidate the conclusions of the FSE with respect to GM maize," he said.

"The research will be referred to ACRE for their more detailed advice.

"Future experiments may be necessary, particularly if industry apply for a renewal of the release consent.

"Any such work will need to be conducted at the industry's expense. The evidence would have to be carefully assessed."

GM crop go-ahead 'irresponsible'
05 Mar 04  |  Science/Nature
Q&A: GM crop trials
16 Oct 03  |  Science/Nature
UK scientists back GM maize crops
04 Mar 04  |  Science/Nature
Call to block Scottish GM crops
19 Feb 04  |  Scotland

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