ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
22 October 2002


EXCERPT from 'GM-Free Britain: Now or never'

Decisions will soon be made about the future of genetically modified (GM) crops in Britain. The Government is under pressure to allow:

Commercial planting of GM crops
Imports of GM food from the US and elsewhere

At the moment, you have the right to choose GM-free. But if the GM floodgates are opened it will be impossible to guarantee that organic food or locally grown produce is GM-free.

This could be your last chance to demand a GM-free Britain.

Getting started

This site contains everything you need to either take online action or build your own GM campaign in your locality.

**Tell Margaret Beckett to make Britain GM-free** email_beckett/index.html


22 Oct 2002

Friends of the Earth today launched its GM-free Britain campaign, calling on local authorities to become GM-free zones. Local authorities across the country will be approached by scores of Friends of the Earth local groups. The launch coincides with publication of a new NOP survey showing that 57 per cent do not want the Government to allow GM crops to be commercially grown across the UK [1].

The GM-free Britain campaign comes at a crucial time in the GM debate. Within the next eighteen months the Government is expected to decide whether or not to allow GM crops to be commercially grown across the UK. If it does it would lead to widespread GM contamination of our food, crops and environment, and would remove people‚s right to choose food free from GM content.

Friends of the Earth is calling on local authorities to play their part in keeping Britain free of GM crops and promote sustainable food production. By declaring themselves a GM-free zone local authorities can:

Ensure that no GM crops are grown on land which they control;

Adopt a GM-free policy for all goods and services for which the council is responsible. For example ensuring that school caterers provide GM-free food to schools - a measure many local authorities have already taken;

Write to the Government asking them to prevent GM crops being grown in the county. Under a new European law [2], the Government can designate GM crop-free areas if requested to do so by a local authority.

Local authorities have already demonstrated their opposition to GM food and crops. More than 50 local authorities have backed the Five Year Freeze Campaign ˆ which calls for a Œfreeze‚ on the commercial growing of GM crops. A number of authorities have also insisted that caterers (such as those supplying schools and social services) have a non-GM policy [3]. Around the world, GM-free areas have been declared in parts of Germany, France, Australia and Switzerland.

Friends of the Earth’s GM campaigner Pete Riley said: "This is a crucial time in the GM debate. The Government will soon decide whether to allow GM crops to be commercially grown in the UK. If it decides in favour, it will lead to widespread GM contamination of crops, food and the environment. If that happens, people will no longer be able to say no to GMOs. We‚re calling on local authorities to take action on this issue by becoming GM-free areas and to take action to stop GM crops in their area."

A background briefing on Friends of the Earth's GM-free Britain campaign is available from the press office on request.

More information on Friends of the Earth's GM-free Britain campaign can be found online at:


[1] NOP Omnibus interviewed 1000 people aged 15 + between 4th and 6th October 2002. Recent opinion polls have shown that most people are opposed to GM and food. A survey in last month’s Grocer (20 September) found that 58% would avoid products containing GM ingredients. And an NOP poll for FOE, published on the same day, revealed that 63 per cent of people that regularly bought honey wanted it to be GM-free.

[2] Article 19 of EU GMO Directive (2001/18)

[3]  "Our policy, as set out in the partnership agreement ‘Putting Wales First’, is to restrict any intention to grow GM crops commercially in Wales as far as is lawful according to European Union legislation. We also intend to continue to market Wales as an area of the European Union where the agricultural produce is GM-free." - Rhodri Morgan, First Minister, Welsh Assembly

"Dorset County Council aims to avoid serving food containing GM ingredients on Education and Social services premises. New county Farm tenancy agreements have conditions attached requiring tenants not to grow GM crops, and existing tenants are asked not to grow GM crops, The County Council has written to the Local Government Association (LGA) urging it to promote the precautionary principle in respect of GM issues." - Dorset County Council report of the Director of Environmental Services, 12 July 2001

Contact details:
Friends of the Earth
26-28 Underwood St.
N1  7JQ

Tel: 020 7490 1555
Fax: 020 7490 0881

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