ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

16 April 2002



The Munlochy Vigil challenges the Transport & Environment Committee when it meets tomorrow (Wednesday 17th) to force Mr Finnie to adequately address the serious concerns and issues surrounding the GM crop trials in Scotland.

The Munlochy Vigil totally refutes Mr Finnie's assertions in his response to genuine scientific concerns.[1] He is supposed to be the Minister for the environment, not a PR man for Aventis.

There is a commercial crop growing 50m away from a GM crop at Munlochy and there are similar situations in Aberdeenshire. The Czech republic is demanding 200m separation distances. The EEA report states that GM OSR pollen is viable at a distance of 2km and if borne by insects may travel 10 km.

Can the Minister guarantee that the commercial crop will not be cross-pollinated because it is illegal for GM contaminated oilseed rape to get into the food chain. Can he further guarantee that no wild relatives will be cross-pollinated and contaminated?

No wonder these trials are uninsurable. The so called risk assessments state that the chances of the above are 'effectively zero'. The EEA report [2] states that it is 'high risk' and yet Mr Finnie says this was taken into consideration. The response is limited and arrogant and it is now up to the Transport & Envinroment Committee to see that this is totally insufficient and to represent their electorate, not multi-national corporations. It is now up to them to take on the responsibility of protecting the environment.

Finally, Mr Finnie doesn't even address the health concerns raised by the Chairman of the BMA's Public Health Committee, Dr Charles Saunders on the total absence of health monitoring and his statement that the Executive is taking a gamble with people's health by running these trials. [3]

This is an attempt at a whitewash but the issues and widespread concerns will not go away.  GM crops have to be dealt with politically. There is huge public opposition; there is political opposition - not only across the Highlands but also in Newport and Aberdeenshire and the petition calling for an end to the trials does have complete cross-party political support. This is a significant issue for the future of our environment and health, and for our farming and food.

Press contact: Anthony Jackson 07720 817 847

Editors' Notes:

[1] Mr Finnie's response to Bristow Muldoon, Convener of the T& E Committee, available on Scottish parliament website under T&E Papers.

[2] EEA environmental report number 28, Jeremy Sweet

[3] The Herald, 2 March 2002

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