13 July 1998
SCIMAC questions English Natures role

By FWi staff

A GROUP of lobbyists is questioning English Natures impartiality as the governments chief environmental advisor following its call for a three-year moratorium on genetically-modified crops.

The group, The Supply Chain Initiative on Modified Agricultural Crops (SCIMAC), says it was both “surprised” and “concerned” that English Nature had turned its fire on GM crops, without presenting new scientific or factual evidence to back up its claims.

SCIMAC argues that, as the governments environmental watchdog, English Nature should not have got involved in the debate. “English Natures intervention adds no new knowledge to the public debate over GM crops and calls into question its independent role as the governments advisor on conservation issues,” SCIMAC says.

“SCIMAC firmly believes there is no justification in calls for a moratorium on GM crops. English Natures comments about the effects of modern farming systems on wildlife fail to recognise the enormous environmental progress made in recent years by farmers and others in the agricultural industry.”

  • SCIMAC is an industry-based group formed earlier this year to support the “safe, responsible and effective introduction of GM crops in the UK”. Founding members include the National Farmers Union (NFU), British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB), British Agrochemicals Association (BAA), UK Agriculture Supply Trade Association (UKASTA) and the British Sugar Beet Seed Producers Association (BSBSPA).