N E W S F E E D S >>>

Caithness.org News Bulletins

Sept 2002 Index

Aug 2002 Index

Caithness.org News 2002 Index

Front Page Archives

Caithness Environmental Groups

Nature & Environment In Caithness

September 2002

The Highland Council has called for an adequately funded and open public debate on all aspects of GM crop technology before decisions are made on the commercial growing of GMOs in the UK. Councillor David Alston, Black Isle North, who represented the Council at a meeting of the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission in Edinburgh last week, gave details to the Council of the reviews which will take place during the next nine months and which will precede Government decisions on commercial growing.

There will be three strands in this process:
 1. a public debate initiated by the independent Biotechnology Commission, which will conclude with 
     a report in June 2003;
2. a review of scientific evidence co-ordinated by the UK Governments chief     scientific officer and by
    the Food Standards Agency; and
3. an economic analysis of the potential costs and benefits of commercial
    growing of GM crops, carried out by the Prime Ministers Strategy Unit.

Council Convener David Green has already written to the AEBC stressing the need for adequate funding of the public debate, while Councillor Alston made the same point to Rural Affairs Minister, Ross Finnie, at the Edinburgh meeting.

And Councillor Michael Foxley, Chairman of the Councils Land and Environment Select Committee, has convened a meeting with the Food Safety Agency to discuss concerns over GM crops and labelling of GM foods.

The Council also accepted Councillor Alstons suggestion that the Scottish Executive and the Prime Minister be urged to ensure that the economic analysis of commercial growing of GM is independent and open to public scrutiny.

Councillor Alston said: The debate on commercial growing of GM crops makes the next nine months a defining period for the future of agriculture. The economic arguments on GM will be a powerful factor in the decision making process. It is essential that this study, for the Prime Ministers Strategy Unit, is carried out independently; that those involved in overseeing the study meet in public; and that the results are made public immediately and not after vetting by the Prime Ministers Office. The Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive must insist on this openness if the debate on the future of GM technology is to have credibility with the Scottish people.

Councillor Michael Foxley, Chairman of The Highland Councils Land and Environment Select Committee added: Given the Prime Ministers public enthusiasm for GM, it is absolutely essential that this analysis is independent and published for scrutiny.

Earlier GM Crop Items On Caithness.org
Council Policy on GM Crops
Sep 2001

May June GM Crop Stories


GMO news