12 October 1998
GM crop moratorium looks unlikely
By FWi staff
ENVIRONMENTALISTS face an uphill battle in their quest for a ban on genetically modified (GM) crops, it emerged today (Monday).
English Nature, the Governments environmental advisers, has pressed for a three-year moratorium to enable the completion of research into the possible harmful side-effects of GM crops.
The Government is considering a voluntary moratorium, which would outlaw the commercial planting of GM crops until after 2002.
But biotech industry leaders have rejected the idea of voluntary action, discussed at a meeting with Government officials last week.
And a European Commission spokesman today warned that the UK would be breaching European legislation if it attempted to impose a mandatory ban on GM crops.
Scientists must find evidence that GM crops are harmful if a Government-led moratorium or ban is to survive EU scrutiny.
The first GM crop, a herbicide-resistant variety of oilseed rape, is due to be planted next spring.