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Monday, September 6, 1999 Published at 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK

UK: Wales

Assembly pressure over GM crops ban

Campaigners insist the Assembly can ban GM crops in Wales

Friends of the Earth Cymru's legal case outlining the Assembly's powers to stop genetically modified crops being grown in Wales has been presented to Agriculture Secretary Christine Gwyther.

Legal opinion obtained by the environmental pressure group claims that the Assembly could ban the release of genetically-modified organisms into the Welsh environment until they are proved safe.

BBC Wales's Rhuanedd Richards reports
These powers, FoE Cymru said, came under the Environmental Protection Act.

At a meeting with Ms Gwyther and Assembly officials, representatives of the group were promised a detailed response to the legal opinion within three weeks.

[ image: Agriculture Secretary Christine Gwyther is to respond]
Agriculture Secretary Christine Gwyther is to respond
The campaign to persuade the Assembly to ban the growing of GM crops in Wales was launched at the Royal Welsh Show in July.

An open letter was published. signed by a wide range of interested individuals, including Assembly Members from all four parties.

The previous month, in June, the Conservative group in the Assembly succeeded in passing a motion proposing that Wales should take a lead in the control of GM foods.

[ image: Tory leader Nick Bourne wants a GM-free Wales]
Tory leader Nick Bourne wants a GM-free Wales
Now, the leader of the Conservative Assembly group, Professor Nick Bourne, called for Wales to be GM-free for more than three years.

The Conservatives were backed by Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats.

The Labour group, however, abstained, saying that the motion was too vague.

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