11 April 2000
Fourth farmer ‘pulls out of GM trial’

By FWi staff

A FOURTH farmer has pulled out of the governments farm-scale trials of genetically modified crops, claims a leading environmental group.

The farm in question is George Thompson Ltd at Tittleshall, Norfolk. The governments list of trials indicates it was to have grown GM sugar beet.

The company refused to comment when Farmers Weekly telephoned to confirm claims that it had withdrawn from the GM trials.

But Emma Gibson, anti-GM campaigner for Greenpeace, said the farm had pulled out of the experiment because of overwhelming local opposition.

“We think that this continues to show the lack of credibility of the governments farm scale trial programme,” she added.

“This shows why the government doesnt want to allow the public to have input into the process, because this is what they do – they reject it.”

Farm-scale GM trials have been dogged by controversy since the government announced the first 31 sites last month.

There are now 41 trials up and running but three farms – in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Suffolk – have withdrawn.

The body overseeing farm-scale trials of genetically modified crops has revised its target number of GM sites down from 80 to about 60.

The Supply Chain Initiative on Modified Agricultural Crops now faces a race to get more trials moving before it is too late to drill crops for this year.