Greens welcome Welsh GM ban

25 May 2000

Greens welcome Welsh GM ‘ban’

By FWi staff

ENVIRONMENTALISTS have hailed a vote by the Welsh Assembly to ban genetically modified crops form Wales as a “historic decision”.

However, it is uncertain if this new policy can have any practical effect.

On Wednesday (24 May) AMs agreed they would ban GMOs from Wales unless they were sure they would not harm the environment or health.

The new policy is based on legal advice from Friends of the Earth Cymru, which was delighted at the outcome.

FOE Cymru GM campaigner Raoul Bhambral, said: “The assembly has made a historic decision in the interests of Welsh people and the Welsh countryside.

“This is the first crucial step towards this country becoming a GM-free zone.”

But agriculture secretary Christine Gwyther is reported by BBC Onlineto have said it could be “unlawful”.

“My legal advice is that the motion is seeking to impose a higher test of certainty than contained in the directive and it could be unlawful,” she told AMs.

The motion was prompted by the discovery a GM trial said to be in Cheshire was in fact just over the Welsh border in Flintshire.

The assembly insisted the trial could not go ahead without its authorisation.

But the biotechnology company involved said it would only move the site on advice from government scientists and went ahead with drilling.

Liberal Democrat Assembly leader Mike German called on the government to halt the Flintshire trial.

But Mr Bhambral conceded the new policy did not cover this as it was a crop with “marketing consent”.

Instead he believed the assembly could call on Westminster to invoke Article 16 of the EU GMO Directive to ban it on safety grounds.

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