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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
GM opponents welcome Bayer move
Rape, BBC
GM Maize should never be grown in Scotland, campaigners say
Scottish environmental campaigners and politicians have welcomed the news that the growing of GM crops in the UK is to be shelved for the foreseeable future.

The move follows a decision by Bayer CropScience, which was the only firm eligible to grow GM maize in the UK.

Friends of the Earth Scotland said the development was "welcome news".

Liberal Democrat MSP George Lyon said the move was a direct result of the tough stance taken by the Scottish Executive on the issue.

Bayer said conditions imposed by the UK Government would make the crop "economically non-viable".

This GM maize had serious question marks about its safety and performance and should never have been given approval in Scotland
Duncan McLaren
Friends of the Earth Scotland

Both Westminster and the executive had given the go-ahead to the cultivation of GM maize, but with strict conditions, and if the company had gone ahead, the earliest planting in Scotland would have been in the spring of 2005.

After the company's announcement, an executive spokesman said: "It is a commercial matter for Bayer CropScience."

But Mr Lyon, MSP for Argyll, said: "The announcement is a result of the muscular stance being taken by the executive on the GM issue.

"We rejected the opposition's approach as being flawed and today we have been vindicated."

Green MSP Mark Ruskell claimed the company's criticism of the government conditions was an excuse to cover up the "total failure" of technology to produce an economically viable and scientifically safe crop.

"We have always maintained that this crop offered nothing to farmers, consumers or the environment," he said.

"Bayer's announcement totally vindicates our position - it seems that they have faced the reality of the suitability of this crop where the executive has ignored evidence of poor performance.

'Blind rush'

"This confirms that the executive could have stopped the crop for this reason alone as our independent legal opinion showed last week."

Friends of the Earth Scotland's chief executive, Duncan McLaren, said: "This is very welcome news for Scotland's environment.

"This GM maize had serious question marks about its safety and performance and should never have been given approval in Scotland.

"But this was ignored by Bayer and the executive in their blind rush to push GM on the public.

"It is now time for the executive to rethink its current position on this issue.

"They must ensure that next time a GM crop comes up for approval that it stands up for public opinion and the environment by refusing to give that crop the go-ahead."

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