29 June 1998
Organic farmer sues over GM neighbours

AN organic farmer backed by environmentalists has launched a legal action to challenge the Government over trials of genetically-engineered crops.

Lawyers have started judicial review proceedings after concerns that a Ministry of Agriculture-sponsored research institute is carrying out genetic trials next to the organic farm of Guy Watson of Devon.

Mr Watson, supported by Friends of the Earth and the organic farming group the Soil Association, fears weedkiller-resistant genetically-engineered maize could contaminate his organic crops.

The legal action follows claims from the Friends of the Earth that the National Institute for Agricultural Botany, which is carrying out the work for the Government at Dartington, does not have permission to release genetically engineered organisms into the environment.