23 July 1998
GM trials to be made legal after the event?

THE Government is considering passing retrospective legislation to make trials of genetically-modified (GM) crops legal.

It has admitted all its seed trials are technically illegal because the agriculture ministry has been breaking its own regulations since 1995.

Government lawyers were yesterday said to have been “scratching their heads” over how to deal with the fact that MAFF has approved new crops in breach of the 1982 Seed Regulations.

The Financial Times reports that “eco-warrior” vandalism continues to threaten GM crop trials. The self-styled Wardens of Wiltshire yesterday destroyed a test site for GM rape at Haycombe Hill Farm, in Sutton Veny, Warminster.

At least 27 test sites have been vandalised and there are calls for a moratorium on their commercial production.

Delays in approval of GM crops could put UK farmers at an economic disadvantage, say its advocates.

One company, Advanta Holdings, fears the loss of sites through vandalism might “prejudice the chances of GM maize being approved”.