AN INDEPENDENT review of the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission has recommended that the commission be abolished by the end of the financial year.

A DEFRA spokesman said a final decision about the future of the AEBC is expected in February and that the commission has been told not to plan any further work after April.

According to The Guardian, however, commission members have been told privately that the AEBC will in fact be scrapped and replaced by a body with a wider remit.

The newspaper reported last week that the commission would be abolished because it had repeatedly “placed obstacles in the way of government plans to introduce genetically modified crops”.

Among other things, the AEBC insisted that conventional and organic farmers should be protected from contamination by GM crops and be compensated if safeguards were to fail.

The allegation was denied, however, by junior DEFRA minister Eliott Morley.