15 April 1999
Government reviews rules on GM trials

THE government is to review guidelines on the isolation of genetically modified (GM) crops after a study found that bees carry the pollen further than expected.

Bees can transport GM pollen more than 4km from test sites, according to the study.

But farm-scale trials to assess the environmental impacts of the crops have just begun with “buffer” zones between them and the countryside of just 50m.

Government rules on commercial plantings of GM crops suggest buffers of 200m.

The new findings, by the Scottish Research Institute in Dundee, put pressure on the government to adopt new rules.

Researchers claim that the spread of so-called “transgenes” from farm to farm will be widespread should commercial plantings go ahead.

A government spokesman said the existing isolation guidelines would be reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment.