9 October 2000
Anger at unknown GM trial sites

By FWi staff

ENVIRONMENTAL protesters have reacted with anger to news that unpublicised genetically modified crop trials are taking place in five counties.

The small-scale trials, of Aventis GM Chardon LL maize, were carried out by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.

Trials are taking place on sites in Oxfordshire, Somerset, North Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire and Shropshire, reports the Financial Times.

These are to observe the value of the seed, not to evaluate its environmental impact.

Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth described this as “outrageous” and “deeply disturbing”, claiming crops are threatened by cross-pollination.

He added: “Now farmers dont know where the threat is coming from.”

But the Ministry of Agriculture said the trials had been announced in a parliamentary answer, although not widely publicised.

The ministry is under no obligation to notify the public about such tests, reports The Times.

Aventis is seeking to get Chardon LL on the National Seed List.