THE GOVERNMENT is planning to abolish the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission, the GM crop advisory body.
The Guardian reports that the committee will be abolished because it has repeatedly “placed obstacles in the way of government plans to introduce genetically modified crops”.
But junior DEFRA minister Elliot Morley denied this in a letter to the editor of The Guardian , saying the AEBC had “done an excellent job”, but that it had reached the end of its work programme.
The committee‘s work has been independently reviewed, Mr Morley wrote, and the review recommended that it should be replaced by a similar body but with a wider remit.
DEFRA told The Guardian that no final decision had been made, but the committee has been told to complete its work as soon as possible and not make any plans for further activity after April 1.
Privately, the members have been told that the committee is to be abolished.
The commission was established by the government to consider the ethical and social issues relating to GM crops.
Environment secretary Margaret Beckett is said to have been hostile towards the commission, which has been led by Professor Malcolm Grant, provost at University College London.