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12 December 2017 | Online since 2003


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31 January 2017 09:33:47 |Arable,Crops and Cereals,Government,News

UK votes in favour of GM crops, paving way for potential post-Brexit approval


The European vote was rejected by the majority of nation states, with the UK being one of eight to vote in favour

The European vote was rejected by the majority of nation states, with the UK being one of eight to vote in favour

A UK vote to approve EU proposals to authorise the first new GM crops for cultivation since 1998 suggests the crops may be grown across the country post-Brexit.
The European vote was rejected by the majority of nation states, with the UK being one of eight to vote in favour.
Farming minister George Eustice said last year future arrangements may be put in place for their regulation.
"The Government's general view remains that policy and regulation in this area should be science-based and proportionate," he said.
EU member states were voting on a proposal to authorise two new strains of GM maize, and the reauthorisation of the one GM crop currently grown in the EU (also maize). Thirteen member states voted to reject the new crops, while eight voted in favour.
However, despite the convincing rejection of new crops, neither decision met the qualified majority voting bar and it is now up to the European Commission to decide what to do next.
GM Freeze Director Liz O’Neill said: "The UK’s vote in favour of all three GM maize crops, despite each being banned in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, should ring alarm bells for anyone who wants to protect biodiversity and consumer choice in post-Brexit Britain."
According to results of a study, on average, GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%. Yield gains and pesticide reductions are larger for insect-resistant crops than for herbicide-tolerant crops. Yield and profit gains are higher in developing countries than in developed countries.
In May last year, a major review of GM crops by scientists in the US tentatively concluded that they pose no risk to human health.
'Contamination'
Despite rapid adoption by farmers in many countries, controversies about the technology remain.
Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, GeneWatch UK, GM Freeze and the Soil Association each expressed concerns that controversial Roundup Ready GM crops might be planted in England in Spring 2015. They said that would eventually harm the environment.
"Monsanto and other GM companies are desperate to push their GM crops into other countries before the devastating impacts on wildlife and farming destroy existing markets," said Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK.
"The Government should not be caving in to commercial lobbying and putting British birds and butterflies at risk."
Peter Melchett from the Soil Association said: "If GM crops spread, GM contamination will make organic farming impossible, and our growing organic market will have to be supplied with imported food."
Mrs O'Neill from GM Freeze said: "British consumers don't want to eat GM food and both Scottish and Welsh governments have made it clear they are opposed to GM crops. So why are our representatives in Westminster doing their level best to hand over control of our food and our natural environment to big business?"



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