Wales: new regulations on GM crops proposed
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
The Assembly Government in Wales is concerned that traditional farmers will suffer if their land is contaminated by GM crops. Restrictions on the cultivation of those crops were proposed by Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones, Wales Online reports. Key proposals included the creation of GM-free zones, a ban in national parks and sites of special scientific interest, the launch of a compulsory GM crop register which could be accessed by the public, and the enforcement of significant isolation distances between GM and non-GM crops and buffer zones featuring pollen barriers or traps. According to Ms Jones it was not legally possible to declare Wales GM-free, but the restrictive approach would be continued. The consultation was immediately welcomed by Gareth Vaughan, president of the Farmers’ Union of Wales.
Ms Jones said she was a sceptic about GM crops but did not want to stand in the way of research. On proposals around GM crop research, they had powers in Wales to decide on the circumstances of GM trials. At this stage she was not anticipating GM trials but would want to reserve the right to look at them on a case-by-case basis depending on the proposals put to her.
Consumer Focus Wales will do research to find out whether people’s attitudes towards GM crops have changed since 2003 when a previous study was undertaken. The study found only two in five people felt confident to comment on the subject. Lindsey Kearton, senior policy advocate for the organisation, said that at that time they had recommended that more information should be made available.
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