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Organic farmer loses appeal over GM maize

21 July 1998
Organic farmer loses appeal over GM maize

ORGANIC farmer Guy Watson today lost his Court of Appeal bid to halt trials of genetically-modified maize in a field next to his Devon farm.

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Organic farmer loses appeal over GM maize

21 July 1998
Organic farmer loses appeal over GM maize

By FWi staff

ORGANIC farmer Guy Watson today (Tuesday) lost his Court of Appeal bid to halt trials of genetically-modified maize in a field next to his Devon farm.

The three judges presiding over the appeal, Lord Justice Simon Brown, Lord Justice Judge and Lord Justice Buxton, unanimously upheld a recent High Court ruling that Mr Watson had no arguable case.

The judges decided that the courts had no jurisdiction to intervene, even though regulations for conducting seed trials had been breached by the Government. They commented that it was “regrettable” that the trials had been carried out “contrary to law”, but ruled that did not mean the GM maize crop had to be destroyed.

The ruling is a real blow to the Soil Association and Friends of the Earth, who backed Mr Watsons application for a judicial review. The hearing has been described as a litmus test for the future of GM crops in this country.

Mr Watson, 38, who went organic 15 years ago at his 800-acre Wash Barn farm, Buckfastleigh, near Totnes, initiated the legal action after claiming there was a real danger the GM maize adjacent to his property could cross-pollinate with his organically-grown crop.

If this happened, he would be struck off the Soil Associations organic register, costing him up to £20,000 in lost income, he said.

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