Date Added to website 11th July 2014
GM crop ban in Scotland
[Comment from GM-Free Cymru: This is wonderful news -- and a brave step by the Scottish Government, given the fact that Scotland is home to a number of establishments doing GMO research, and given the fact that the Scottish NFU is totally opposed. (No surprise there, since the NFU always has thought of GMOs as the best things since the invention of the wheel.....) It's brave because the Westminster Tory government has made no secret of its wish to "facilitate" GMO plantings in the UK at the earliest opportunity. Whether any English farmers -- even the very big ones -- will actually put GMOs into the ground is another matter, given the inevitable public hostility that would ensue. There is in any case no demand for them, so why would a sensible farmer bother? What we now hope is that Wales and Northern Ireland will follow suit. We trust that they will, since there has been irritation for many years over the manner in which DEFRA and the Government have systematically ignored the wishes of the other 3 administrations when it comes to GMO votes in the EU -- specifically in contravention of the GMO Concordat to which they are all signed up. Watch this space.........]
Scotland to protect clean, green status and prohibit GM crops.
Growing genetically modified (GM) crops will not be permitted in Scotland, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced as he moved to protect Scotland’s clean, green status.
Mr Lochhead has confirmed that the Scottish Government intends to take advantage of new EU rules allowing countries to opt out of growing EU-authorised GM crops.
The Scottish Government will shortly submit a request that Scotland is excluded from any European consents for the cultivation of GM crops, including the variety of genetically modified maize already approved and six other GM crops that are awaiting authorisation.
The Cabinet Secretary said:
“Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment - and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status.
“There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector.
“Scottish food and drink is valued at home and abroad for its natural, high quality which often attracts a premium price, and I have heard directly from food and drink producers in other countries that are ditching GM because of a consumer backlash.
“That is why I strongly support the continued application of the precautionary principle in relation to GM crops and intend to take full advantage of the flexibility allowed under these new EU rules to ban GM crops from being grown in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government has long-standing concerns about GM crops - concerns that are shared by other European countries and consumers, and which should not be dismissed lightly.
“I firmly believe that GM policy in Scotland should be guided by what's best for our economy and our own agricultural sector rather than the priorities of others. I recently kicked off a national discussion on the future of Scottish agriculture, and welcome views from all sides of the GM debate.”
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.
The Rural Affairs Secretary kicked off a national discussion on the Future of Scottish Agriculture at the Turriff Show on Monday: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Agri-vision-1ba6.aspx