1 September 2000

Judicial No to GMcrop in Scotland

A SCOTTISH judge has ruled that a farmer should be allowed to plant a genetically modified crop.

Highland Council had sought an interim interdict to stop James Grant of Munlochy, the Black Isle, from drilling winter oilseed rape for the trials. It argued that the trial should be subject to the planning process because it involved a change of land use from agriculture to scientific research.

But at the Court of Session on Tuesday (Aug 29) Lord Hardie said he was satisfied the trial could properly be described as using the land for agricultural purposes. It was in the national interest for the trial to go ahead, he ruled.

Highland Council said it was disappointed with the decision and admitted scope for further legal action was limited.

Council convener David Green said he hoped to meet Scottish Executive rural affairs minister Ross Finnie and express concerns over lack of consultation and lack of transparency in the trials. Councillor Margaret Paterson called on Mr Grant to heed the views of the council and community and abandon his plans.

Greenpeace has claimed the trials are outside the exemption in planning law for agriculture. Last week the Ministry of Agriculture said it believed the government would not be acting unlawfully if it proceeded with the trials. Twenty-five farmers have agreed to host GM winter oilseed rape trials including four in Scotland.