22 March 2002

Fen blow poses a grave danger,

says Greenpeace group

STRONG winds could scatter genetically modified seed as well as pollen into conventional and organic fields, according to environmental group Greenpeace.

Until now, environmentalists have concentrated their criticism of the new technology on the risk of contamination via wind-blown pollen.

But Greenpeace is now pointing out there is also a risk from wind-blown seed, especially in areas such as the Fens where a persistent strong wind brings dust storm conditions and is known as a "Fen blow".

Current rules state there must be at least 200m between GM and non-GM varieties of sweetcorn and organic maize, 80m for conventional fodder maize and 50m for oilseed rape

But campaigners believe these distances need to be increased dramatically to prevent cross-contamination, suggesting the minimum separation distance for oilseed rape should be as much as 5km. &#42