27 March 2000
GM crops ‘could help nature’

GENETICALLY modified crops could be good for biodiversity, claims Baroness Barbara Young, who chairs English Nature.

Speaking at a Soil Association lecture, Baroness Young said GM technology could not be dismissed as “bad” without some demonstration of the science behind that assertion.

Indeed, she argued, “gentle manipulation” of genes could have benefits for the environment.

Baroness Young suggested that GM spring-sown crops which gave the same yield as winter-sown varieties would offer environmental benefits.

Winter stubble could be left, providing a vital food source for threatened farmland birds, and fungicide use reduced.

“At that stage the organic movement would have to think where they really stood on the issue,” she told the Radio4 Farming Today programme.