22 July 1998
Court battle over GM crop to go on
By Boyd Champness
THE genetically-modified (GM) maize crop at the centre of this weeks landmark court battle will continue to flourish, the Government announced today.
Environment minister Michael Meacher said he was accepting the advice of the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) that the field trial of GM maize in Devon should be allowed to continue.
According to ACRE, there are no grounds – on the basis of scientific evidence – for halting the field trial, as it will not interfere with the organic sweetcorn crop being grown on a nearby farm.
Yesterday, leading organic farmer Guy Watson lost his Court of Appeal bid to stop GM maize being trialled on the property next to his farm.
The Court of Appeal upheld the High Courts rejection of Mr Watsons application for a judicial review of the trialling of GM crops. Mr Watson argued that the GM maize being grown next to his farm at Buckfastleigh, Devon, could cross-pollinate with his own organic corn crop, costing him up to £20,000 in lost income.
But the three judges presiding over the case ruled unanimously that they had no authority to order the destruction of the GM crop, despite finding that the Government had disregarded seed trial laws when approving the experiment.