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In 2000, the National Assembly for Wales voted to resist the planting of GM crops in Wales, but this did not stop UK government trials from going ahead here. Trial fields of GM maize were planted at Sealand in Flintshire in both 2000 and 2001 despite public protest, but two trials at Mathry in Pembrokeshire were thwarted by a successful community campaign.

Since 2001 there have been no further plantings of GM crops in Wales, partly because of strong public antipathy towards GM and partly because the Welsh Assembly Government -- with cross-party backing -- sent a strong signal to the Westminster Government, and to the organizers of the Farm-Scale Evaluations, that any attempts to use new trial sites in Wales would be resisted. The device used by Environment Minister Carwyn Jones was an order creating a statutory "exclusion zone" around organic plantings of related crops; this was quite legal, and imposed an additional burden on any farmers or GM corporations who might have been thinking of new plantings in Wales.

Also, with feelings running high, there was a recognition in Westminster that any new crops planted in Wales would have had little chance of survival!

Under pressure from GM Free Cymru, FoE Cymru, FUW and the Federation of Women's Institutes (the GM Free Wales Alliance), the Assembly has now joined the grouping of European GM Free Regions and is working at a diplomatic level to achieve a right of "self-determination" with respect to GM Free status.

We are constantly pressing the Assembly Government to do more to protect Wales's GM Free status, and to bring in strong liability measures which would force GM crop growers to compensate neighbours who suffer financially because of GM contamination. Draft Regulations currently under consultation in Wales have been widely welcomed, since they make both farmers and the GM seed owners liable for economic and environmental damage arising from GM crop plantings. We are also lobbying hard at a European level for decentralized decision making on GM matters and for a more transparent and honest science-based approach to GM regulation.

We believe Wales should develop sustainable farming systems to ensure a healthy environment, a healthy community and a healthy economy.

Evidence from elsewhere in the world relating to GM "trespass" shows that the production of GM free food will not be possible in Wales if GM crops are grown even on a small scale.

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