ENVIRONMENT MINISTER Elliot Morley this week (w/e May 7) reiterated the government‘s view that a GM liability scheme should be funded by the biotech industry.

It was during a GM debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday (May 5) that Mr Morley made the statement.

“We will implement co-existence measures on potential authorisation for growing GM crops and a potential liability scheme.”

“Although the shape of the liability scheme is open to discussion, the government believes that it should be financed by the biotech sector, which will produce the crops.”

“The consultation on that matter will be made public before the House [of Commons] goes into recess, and it will continue throughout the summer until the autumn, when we will have an opportunity to evaluate the responses with a view to implementing measures for next year,” Mr Morley said.

When the government made its GM policy public in March, the biotech industry said it would not fund a liability scheme.

Lib-Dem shadow agriculture secretary Andrew George asked Mr Morley: “Given that the industry is not prepared to consider such a scheme, is it merely desirable or absolutely mandatory in relation to any future planting of GM crops?”

Mr Morley answered: “Our view is that we need a liability scheme to provide confidence, not least in the biotech sector itself.”

But he refused to be more specific, saying that he did not wish to “pre-empt the results of the consultation on the draft proposals”.