17 August 1999
Government names new GM trial sites

THE government has identified the location of four trial sites where genetically modified (GM) crops are to be grown.

The sites are detailed in the national press, some with maps and full details.

The applicant at all four sites is AgrEvo UK, which plans to plant oilseed rape modified to resist the herbicide glufosinate.

By next year, 75 test sites are scheduled to be in operation.

The Financial Times gets a new angle on the same story. It reports that the UK biotechnology industry is threatening to transfer GM crop trials to other parts of Europe if no protection is offered from destruction by environmental activists.

SCIMAC, the industry body, confirms that some of its members are considering moving trials to France, the Netherlands or Denmark.

The Guardian, in a follow-up to its reporting of the governments new test sites, also reports on the background and motivations of the environmental activists.

It finds they are made up of “teachers, nurses, scientists, policy geeks and professional protestors”.

The Times reports that a GM sugar-beet crop in the Irish Republic has been destroyed by saboteurs. The raid, the second of its kind in Ireland in less than a month, was at a site run by Monsanto near Midleton, Country Cork.