13 April 1999
Government to probe farm-scale GM trial
By FWi staff
GOVERNMENT officials are to examine whether the first company to participate in farm-scale trials of genetically modified (GM) crops has already broken the rules.
Environmental campaigners claim the biotech firm AgrEvo broke the regulations when it planted 10ha (24.7acres) of GM oilseed rape at the beginning of this month.
The law requires any company participating in the farm-scale trials must publicise its proposals in a local newspaper before planting any GM crops.
AgrEvo planted the GM rape at Lushill Farm, Hannington, near Swindon, Wilts, after announcing its intention to do so in the Gloucestershire Echo.
But the Gloucestershire Echo is little read in Hannington, and unavailable in the main newspaper shop in the nearest town, claims Friends of the Earth.
The environmental group has now written to the Department of the Environment (DETR) requesting that the AgrEvo crop is destroyed.
A DETR spokesman said no decision on the future of the farm-scale GM trial had yet been taken.
AgrEvo, meanwhile, will now publicise the trial in the Swindon Evening News, a paper whose circulation includes the farm where the GM rape is planted.