Michael Fabricant today expressed his dismay at the Government’s decision to allow commercial growing of GM maize. "Although I do not oppose the farming of GM crops in principle and recognise that it could offer many advantages, it is unacceptable that the Government has decided to approve the growing of GM maize, just 24 hours before the Environmental Audit Select Committee unanimously recommended that this should not happen" says Michael Fabricant. "The Committee raised serious scientific concerns on the commercial growth of GM crops. This makes it even more disturbing that the Government has decided to ignore many of those questions raised by the Report.
"The legitimate concerns raised by the public, the Select Committee and environmental organisations raise very real questions about the dangers to the environment that may result from GM crop production. To protect the consumer and the environment, there needs to be a clear legal framework to protect biodiversity and to clarify liability for contamination before any authorisation of commercial planting is given. This is particularly worrying in the West Midlands where there are many organic farmers whose crops could be contaminated by GM farming" Michael adds.
The decision to give the go ahead for the planting of GM maize was taken by the Cabinet 24 hours before the Environmental Audit Select Committee unanimously recommended against allowing commercial planting.
The Select Committee concluded that the Farm Scale Trials of GM maize were invalid as the effect on biodiversity of growing herbicide-tolerant GM maize was measured against a non-GM crop treated with atrazine, a powerful herbicide about to be banned. The Committee also highlighted concerns that the trials were too short and that no account had been taken of the experience of GM crop-growing in North America where over time the use of herbicides has increased and widespread contamination has occurred.
The Government’s own GM Public Debate was criticised by the EFRA Select Committee, with a majority of Labour MPs, as being too short and insufficiently promoted. However, it still showed 90 per cent opposition to allowing the commercial cultivation of GM crops.