WALES HAS become the only region of the UK to sign a charter demanding that conventional and organic farming must be protected when GM crops are grown commercially.

The charter was signed at a meeting of the 20 member Network of European Regions in Florence on Fri (Feb 4).

It urges the European Commission to acknowledge the growing concern of an increasing number of regions about threats posed by the introduction of GM crops.

“It contains a number of declarations, one of which presses for the EC to recognise the polluter pays principle,” said Carwyn Jones, the Welsh Assembly‘s rural affairs minister.

“Our continued involvement in the Network is helping the Welsh Assembly government take forward its clear policy of adopting the most restrictive approach to the possible commercialisation of GM crops allowable under existing legislation.”

The Farmers‘ Union of Wales applauded the Welsh Assembly‘s decision to sign the charter.

“The union, like the majority of Assembly members and consumers, wants Wales to be declared a GM-free country,” said spokesman Alan Morris.

“It seems that there are legal constraints on this happening, so it is crucial that organic and conventional farming are given the highest possible level of protection from GM pollution.”