GM Free Cymru

England is isolated as the rest of UK swings away from GMOs

Date Added to website 7th October 2015


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Press Notice, 3 October 2015

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England is isolated as the rest of UK swings away from GMOs

GMO crop ban confirms GMO-Free status for Wales
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It had just been announced by Rebecca Evans AM, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, that Wales has asked the EU for a derogation to any future plans to plant GMO crops in Europe. This follows the announcement of GMO bans in at least 15 member states across the EU.

That means that Wales has confirmed its long-standing GMO-free status by using GMO rules agreed earlier this year. Under these rules, counties and regions referred to as "competent authorities" can notify the Commission and the biotech industry that they do not wish named GMO varieties to be grown on their territories. At present there is just one variety (MON810 maize) approved for cultivation within the EU, and seven others in the pipeline. All 8 are now banned from Wales.

The Welsh ban follows bans imposed by the Scottish and Northern Irish governments, leaving England as the only part of the UK in which GMOs can be grown. In theory, GMO policy is supposedly agreed between the 4 governments or "competent authorities", but Westminster has traditionally ignored the wishes of its three partners when it comes to GMO votes in Brussels. This has caused resentment. Now England finds itself isolated, and UK policy on GMOs is thrown into disarray.

Speaking for GM-Free Cymru, Dr Brian John said: "This is great news, for which we have waited for 15 years since Wales was first threatened with the growing of GMO crops which nobody wants and nobody needs. In the early days of our campaign Carwyn Jones was instrumental in keeping GMOs out of Wales through the use of rather interesting legal device, and since then the Welsh Government has followed a policy of pursuing the "most restrictive policy possible under the law" when it comes to GMOs. Past efforts have concentrated on the "coexistence regulations", but under the new EU rules, up until 3rd October 2015 actual bans could be brought in on named GMO varieties and then enforced by law.

We congratulate Rebecca Evans for following the lead of Scotland and Northern Ireland in a rather difficult Welsh political context. A celebration is in order! Next, we must concentrate on getting Roundup and glyphosate out of the food supply, since they are responsible for massive health and environmental damage. We must also seek to remove GMO soy from the animal feed supply chain, on the basis that it is harmful to animal health and because the GMO soy "empires" of South America are responsible for documented human misery on a huge scale. But one battle at a time......"

ENDS

Contact: Dr Brian John
Tel 01239-820470

Links:
http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/gmo/new/authorisation/cultivation/geographical_scope_en.htm
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-deputy-farming-minister-rebecca-10183840
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-deputy-farming-minister-rebecca-10183840

 

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Welsh Government News Friday 2 October

Rebecca Evans announces restrictions to GM crop cultivation in Wales

Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans has announced she intends to take advantage of new EU rules allowing countries to opt out of growing EU-authorised GM crops.

The Minister said she is requesting that the EU excludes Wales from the European consent of a GM maize variety already approved and seven other GM crops currently awaiting authorisation.

The Minister said,

“These new rules proposed by the European Commission provide Wales with the necessary tools to maintain our cautionary approach by allowing us to control the future cultivation of GM crops in Wales. It will allow us to protect the significant investment we have made in our organic sector and safeguard the agricultural land in Wales that is managed under voluntary agri-environment schemes.

“Farming and food processing businesses remain the driving force of our rural economy. Our emphasis is on competing on quality, strong branding and adding value through local processing. We, therefore, need to preserve consumer confidence and maintain our focus on a clean, green, natural environment. By having the ability to control what is grown in Wales we can have confidence in preserving these values. I have therefore acted now to ban the eight GM varieties from being grown in Wales that are either approved or about to be approved for cultivation in the EU.

“These crops have not been developed for Welsh growing conditions and would be of no real benefit to Welsh farmers at this time. I will of course keep this position under review and am keeping an open mind on future GM developments and more advanced genetic techniques.”

Ends

Notes to Editors

• Under EU rules, GM crops must be formally authorised before they can be cultivated in the EU geographical area.
• The amendment to Directive 2001/18/EC came into force earlier this year and allows Member States and Devolved Administrations to restrict or ban the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) within their territory.
• The amended Directive applies to new cultivation dossiers and not GMOs that have already been or are currently being considered for approval. Transitional arrangements have been put in place to enable Member States and Devolved Administrations to request that their territory is excluded from any consents in relation to applications that were received prior to April 2, 2015.
• Member States/Regions wishing to use the transitional arrangements to opt out of growing EU approved GM maize MON 810 or any of the GM maize varieties currently awaiting EU approval must notify the European Commission by October 2, 2015.

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Press Release : Friends of the Earth Cymru

Immediate Release : Friday 2nd October 2015
Contact: 02920 229577

GM Free Wales at last as Welsh Government requests ban on all crops

Today the Welsh Government announced that they are seeking to ban GM crops from Wales, following on from commitments to take the most restrictive possible approach to GM in Wales.

New European rules introduced earlier this year [1] made it legally possible for countries to ban GM crops for the first time and Wales joins 15 EU member states including Germany, France, Hungary, Croatia and Poland, as well as Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wallonia [2] in requesting such a ban [3]. The ban applies to all crops approved to be grown in the EU and all those in the pipeline for approval.

Friends of the Earth Cymru along with partners in the organisations GM Free Cymru and NFWI-Wales as well as hundreds of people across Wales have campaigned since 1999 to draw attention to the environmental and social concerns around GM crops and to stop them from being grown in Wales [4].

Haf Elgar, Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Cymru, said:

“This is a great day for all the campaigners and communities that have worked to keep Wales GM Free over the past 15 years.

“There has been strong cross party support in the National Assembly for a restrictive approach to GM crops since 2001 but we are thrilled that this can now be turned into a legal ban and congratulate the Welsh Government on taking this step to keep Welsh agriculture clean and green and protect our reputation for high quality food and drink production.”

“These crops are all herbicide tolerant crops which have been a disaster in North and South America where they've been commercialised - leading to resistant weeds and a massive increase in pesticide use. This is damaging to wildlife including the insects we rely on for pollination, and pollen and seed from GM crops can contaminate conventional and organic crops miles away, threatening our farming industry.”

ENDS

Notes:
• European Directive as regards the possibility for the Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their territory http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32015L0412&from=EN

http://www.euractiv.com/sections/agriculture-food/15-member-states-opt-out-gmo-culture-318181

http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/gmo/new/authorisation/cultivation/geographical_scope_en.htm

https://www.foe.co.uk/cymru/english/news/gm.html

CONTACT

Friends of the Earth Cymru: 02920 229 577
MEDIA INTERVIEWS CAN BE CONDUCTED IN WELSH OR ENGLISH

www.foecymru.co.uk
Twitter: www.twitter.com/foecymrucydd
Facebook: www.facebook.com/foecymrucydd

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Welsh deputy farming minister Rebecca Evans seeks ban on genetically modified crops to protect organic farming
2 Oct 2015
By David Deans
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/new-era-gm-crops-begin-8443850
The move comes after the European Commission changed the rules, allowing nations to opt out of GM crops
A ban on a range of genetically modified crops is being sought by the Welsh Government.
Deputy minister for farming and food Rebecca Evans has asked the EU that it allows Wales to be exempt from permission given for the cultivation of eight varieties of maize.

She says the move will allow Wales to protect its organic food sector.

The move, welcomed by Friends of the Earth Cymru, will now go to the biotech companies themselves to be removed from their plans.

Wales is one of many countries to have made similar applications to the European Commission, following a change to the rules that allowed nations to ask to be exempt from authorised and to be-authorised genetically modified crops.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have requested bans, leaving England the only country in the UK that hasn’t asked.

Some have said the new system is an attempt to get more authorisations of genetically modified organisms agreed at a European level, by putting the decision in the hands of individual governments.

Ms Evans said: “These new rules proposed by the European Commission provide Wales with the necessary tools to maintain our cautionary approach by allowing us to control the future cultivation of GM crops in Wales.

“It will allow us to protect the significant investment we have made in our organic sector and safeguard the agricultural land in Wales that is managed under voluntary agri-environment schemes.“We... need to preserve consumer confidence and maintain our focus on a clean, green, natural environment.

“By having the ability to control what is grown in Wales we can have confidence in preserving these values.

“I have therefore acted now to ban the eight GM varieties from being grown in Wales that are either approved or about to be approved for cultivation in the EU.”

According to the notices posted on the EC website, the requests concern eight varieties of maize.

The Welsh Government has previously stated its opposition to GM crops and was a founder member of GM Free Network of Regions.
Haf Elgar, campaigner for Friends of the Earth Cymru, said: “There has been strong cross party support in the National Assembly for a restrictive approach to GM crops since 2001.

“We congratulate the Welsh Government on taking this step to keep Welsh agriculture clean and green.”

Plaid Cymru’s food spokesman Llyr Gruffydd said: “Wales has a strong food sector and proud reputation being a clean, green producer of quality food. We need to protect this reputation and support farmers.”