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GM Crops
Council Policy

Caithness.org News Index     


The Highland Councils Land and Environment Select Committee has agreed a five-pronged policy position concerning Genetically Modified Crops and their trials.
The Committee is to seek wider support for its position from the Highlands and Islands Convention, which calls on the Scottish Executive to: -

*Support the recommendations of the Agriculture Environment and Biotechnology
Commission that further data must be gathered and a full public debate take place before commercial GM crop growing can be considered;

*Place a moratorium on farmscale evaluations until the flaws in the trials,  identified by the AEBC, have been corrected;

*Halt and revoke the present trial at Munlochy until full environmental and safety information on the use of glufosinate ammonium herbicide has been placed in the public domain

*Initiate a wider discussion of ethical and socio-economic concerns and consider strategic and economic factors before taking future decisions; and

*Initiate a wider debate about what kind of agriculture people in the United Kingdom, especially in the Highlands, want and how it can be achieved.

Committee Chairman Councillor Michael Foxley said he welcomed the findings of the AEBC, which highlighted the shortcomings of the present Government guidance on GM trials. He agreed that adequate separation distances must be set, taking into account the interests of organic farmers; that the objectives and limitations of trials are clearly communicated to the public; and that there must be effective public consultation with local people and stakeholders. 

He said: "We will be urging the Executive to accept and act upon the stance we have taken, which takes account of the findings of the Governments independent advisory body and reflects the views of the majority of people in the Highlands, who have shown an interest in this important matter." 

Convener David Green said the Council appeared to be alone in championing the cause of fairness and open-ness on the GM issue. He said he would seek the support of, in the first instance, the Highlands and Islands Convention to broaden the base of the campaign.