ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

1 February 2002





FoE Immediate Release:  Thurs 31 January

Web version:

The Government has failed to increase the separation distances around the latest round of GM crop trials - announced earlier today ­ despite an admission by Environment Minister, Margaret Beckett that the current distances may not prevent neighbouring crops from significant levels of GM pollution [1].  FOE believes that the separation distances for GM oil seed rape trials should be at least 5km.  The separation distance between GM oil seed rape and conventional varieties is currently 50 metres.  Friends of the Earth has described today's announcement as reckless.

Pete Riley, GM campaigner at Friends of the Earth said: "The separation distance around these GM crop trials are pathetic. If they go ahead neighbouring and organic crops within a 5 kilometres radius will be at risk from GM contamination.  The Government knows the separation distances are inadequate but has recklessly failed to act.

"Earlier today Food Standards Agency revealed that 15 per cent of bakery products were contaminated with GM soya.  These trials may lead to similar contamination incidents in the food chain and deny the public its right to say no to GMOs‰

Last September the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission published a report which was critical of the FSEs.  One of its recommendations was that "the programme of FSEs should be completed subject to...the Government working with SCIMAC and representatives of the organic farming industry to set adequate separation distances for the remaining trials to ensure that the interests of all parties are accommodated." Earlier this month Environment Minister, Margaret Beckett, responded that "the separation distances for the FSEs have been set to ensure that cross-pollination is a maximum of 1%.  However...there is a case for separation distances to be greater so as to ensure a maximum of, for example, 0.1% cross-pollination".  To achieve this FOE estimates that separation distances should be at least 5 km.  Last year the European Commission said that a 5km separation distance would be needed to ensure that oilseed rape seed production achieved a contamination threshold of 0.3%.

Earlier today the FSA revealed that 15 % of bakery products surveyed contained GM ingredients - none of them were labelled. Three samples were found to contain more than 1% GM soya.  Such products are required to be labelled as containing GM under EC regulation.  It is not known how the products came to be contaminated with GM material as most European food manufacturers now avoid GM ingredients in response to overwhelming consumer rejection of the new technology.

"It should be independent of government. That is the right way to do it... the Government needs to listen" - Mr Meacher on BBC Radio 4's Today programme



from Defra press release

1. The table below includes 24 spring sown oilseed rape and 17 beet sites in England. Details of the sites in Scotland are available on the Scottish Executive website at

Fodder or Sugar Beet

6 Figure Grid     Reference    Parish County/Authority

NX 964 137         St Bees     Cumbria

SE 639 843         Beadlam     North Yorkshire

SO 710 177         Blaisdon    Gloucestershire

SO 852 224    Down Hatherley   Gloucestershire

SO 855 767         Stone       Worcestershire

ST 675 823     Westerleigh     South Gloucestershire

TF 097 445  Kirkby la Thorpe with the Hoplands  Lincolnshire

TF 218 889   Ludford, East Wykeham & Ludford  Magna  Lincolnshire

TF 270 780 Scamblesby & Cawkwell        Lincolnshire

TF 845 398 Burnham Thorpe      Norfolk

TF 848 254 Helhoughton         Norfolk

TF 893 362 Raynham             Norfolk

TF 930 050 Saham Toney         Norfolk

TF 940 087 Bradenham           Norfolk

TF 947 093 Bradenham           Norfolk

TL 314 904 Ramsey              Cambridgeshire

TL 815 665 Risby               Suffolk

Oilseed Rape

6 Figure Grid     Reference       Parish County/Authority

NZ 101 139        Wycliffe with Thorpe   Durham

NZ 205 365        Oakenshaw        Durham

NZ 372 510 Near Burdon village     City of Sunderland

SE 773 240        Laxton East      Riding of Yorkshire

SE 820 490    Nunburnholme         East Riding of Yorkshire

SJ 399 262    Hordley              Shropshire

SJ 505 313   Wem Rural             Shropshire

SJ 683 255   Hinstock              Shropshire

SK 600 712   Warsop                Nottinghamshire

SK 753 130   Burton and Dalby      Leicestershire

SP 068 369   Buckland              Gloucestershire

SP 155 401   Chipping Campden      Gloucestershire

SP 237 484   Alderminster          Warwickshire

SY 663 861   Bincombe              Dorset

SY 708 861   Broadmayne            Dorset

SY 773 928   Tincleton             Dorset

TA 013 009   North Kelsey          Lincolnshire

TA 065 596   Nafferton             East Riding of Yorkshire

TA 221 373   Aldbrough             East Riding of Yorkshire

TF 216 976   Thorganby             Lincolnshire

TF 221 888   Ludford, East Wykeham & Ludford Magna        Lincolnshire

TF 944 250   Colkirk               Norfolk

TL 053 100   Great Gaddesden       Hertfordshire

TM 102 875   Winfarthing           Norfolk

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