GM crop trials for central London?

1 April 2001

GM crop trials for central London?

By FWi staff

GENETICALLY modified crops could be planted in one of central Londons most popular parks in a experiment which could benefit Britains dairy industry.

Small areas of St Jamess Park may be sown with a new variety of high-yielding GM grass specially developed to grow in Britains changing climate.

Ministers are looking favourably on the proposal because a lack of rural policing means protestors find it easy to target GM trials in the countryside.

The GM grass has been genetically modified to produce high-protein silage if, as expected, Britains climate becomes wetter because of global warming.

Ministry of Agriculture scientists believe it could boost milk output by 2% while reducing the amount of concentrate fed by farmers to dairy cows.

The GM grass looks almost identical to a conventional variety, making it difficult to distinguish from normal parkland or grass grown for silage and grazing.

A government spokesman said: “St Jamess Park is the perfect location because it is only just around the corner from the Ministry of Agriculture.

“It would be easier for our scientists to monitor the trials because environmental protestors wont know which part of the park is being used.”

Loof Lirpa, director of Anja Grass, the Norwegian company behind the new GM variety, said: “We are hoping to be given the green light.”

The experiment would run for three years. European scientists would then decide whether the GM grass could be used commercially by British farmers.

See more