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Caithness News Bulletins October 2003
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21 October 03
The Highland Council is being increasingly pointed towards opposing the commercial growing of Genetically Modified Crops.
This is the view of Councillor Richard Durham, Chairman of the Council’s Land and Environment Select Committee, who has asked the matter to be debated when his committee meets next on Thursday 6 November.
Councillor Durham made his comments after noting the results of the biggest environmental-impact study of GM crops anywhere in the world, which indicated that the cultivation of GM crops – such as oilseed rape – reduces biodiversity in wildlife compared to their conventional equivalents.
The Government’s Scientific Steering Committee looked at summer farm-scale evaluations at 60 sites across Britain, including Munlochy on the Black Isle, involving oilseed rape, sugar beet and maize.
The trials showed that some insect groups, such as bees and butterflies were recorded more frequently in and around conventional crops because there were more weeds to provide food and cover.
Councillor Durham said: “These results would suggest that there is no environmental benefit of growing GM Crops, certainly oil seed rape, which was grown at Munlochy. When you take into account the unproven nature of the technology and the public’s widespread concern about the impact GM Crops will have on the environment, the Council should be adopting the precautionary principle as regards GM crops saying that the time is not right to progress commercial growing. Perhaps it is time the Council formally adopted this position.”
“Members of the Select Committee will get a chance to have their say at our next meeting, when we will take things from there.”
Highland Council Vice Convener Michael Foxley and former Chair of the Land and Environment Select Committee said: “The so-called trials like Munlochy were poorly organised scientifically and opposed by Highland Council. Even so, they have shown GM crops to be environmentally damaging. This is well known as is gene stacking and massive public concern about GM foods.”
“Our future in the Highlands is to produce food from a clean natural environment and that means no commercial planting of GM crops.”
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Coop Bans GM Food 21 October 03