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6 UK Government Farm Scale GMO Trials Destroyed or Substantially Damaged

Genetic Engineering Network 18jul01

Genetic Engineering Network has received reports that six of the Government's Farm Scale Trials of genetically modified crops have been destroyed or substantially damaged (1); this is in addition to the destruction of small areas of Farm Scale Trials which have occurred recently at public rallies and in open decontaminations (2).

The destroyed/substantially damaged trials are:

  1. Wivenhoe, Essex (one of two trials in Wivenhoe of GM maize) - 70% of the= crop deliberately destroyed; (3)
  2. Broadway, Dorset (GM maize) - 60% of the crop deliberately destroyed;
  3. Winterbourne Monkton, Dorset (GM oilseed rape) - 65% of the crop deliberately destroyed;
  4. Atherstone on Stour, Warwickshire (GM oilseed rape) - 100% of the crop destroyed, possibly in error by incorrect application of herbicide;
  5. Hutton Magna, Durham, (GM oilseed rape) - 30% of the crop deliberately destroyed;
  6. Hinton Waldrist, Oxfordshire, (GM maize) - 50% of the crop deliberately destroyed;

The GEN office has received a statement from the group who recently destroyed the Wivenhoe GM maize crop which contained the following comment:

"The GM Farm Scale Trials are not genuine environmental assessments. They are a means of spreading irreversible genetic contamination in the countryside, a cynical attempt to reduce public opposition to the proposed commercial growing of GM in Britain. The "scientists" who take part in these biased and dangerous "evaluations" should be ashamed of themselves.

"We warn the Genetic Engineering industry and the government which serves it that if GM crops are commercialised, the level of direct action is likely to increase (4)."

So far this year, 28 GM trial sites in the UK have been damaged or destroyed, or prevented from planting by public opposition (this figure includes some crop failures).

NOTES

(1) All the National Seed Listing trials of GM herbicide resistant winter-planted oilseed rape were destroyed earlier this year.

(2) On 30th June 2001, seven people were arrested in Wivenhoe at a public rally after people gained entry to one of the GM fields.

Two women uprooted GM oilseed rape at the Farm Scale Trial in Low Burnham, Lincolnshire. One of them, Rowan Tilley, delivered the destroyed crop to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 5th July 2001 and explained her actions in a face-to-face meeting with Environment Minister Michael Meacher.

At a public rally in Flintshire, Wales, on 14th July 2001, six people were arrested after the GM field was damaged by the crowd.

(3) On 27th June 2001, eleven people were found not guilty after attempting to destroy GM crops in Wivenhoe in July 2000.

(4) The government is likely to make an announcement on commercial= growing of GM crops after the conclusion of the Farm Scale Evaluations programme.

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