ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

17 October 2002


Here's some commendably clear and useful info on how to respond to the UK Prime Minister's Strategy Unit's 'Scoping Note'.

This was sent to us by the MUNLOCHY GM VIGIL.

For NGIN's comments and the Scoping Note in full:
URGENT: send your views on GM to the Prime Minister's UK Strategy Unit and help shape the forthcoming debate!

The mechanism for the public debate on the future of GM Crops in the UK starts this autumn and encompasses 3 strands:

1. Scientific study

2. Economic study

3. Public debate

The economic strand is the first one to call for responses (by 25th October) and the rationale revealing the scope of the study (Scoping Note) can be found at:

Essentially the study is looking at the impact of growing GM crops in the UK on pre-selected categories (shown on P12 of Scoping Note):

* GM producers

* Conventional producers

* Organic producers

* The environment

* The biotech sector

* The rural economy

* Developing countries

by carrying out a cost/benefit analysis for each of them.

The Strategy Unit (carrying out the study) ask for responses to 5 main questions (P18 & 19):

1 Do you agree with the categories of costs and benefits and the chosen  categories?

2 Can you quantify costs and benefits to each of the categories?

3 Can you provide evidence to substantiate your opinions?

4 Can you put the categories into order of overall importance?

5 Can you identify the major uncertainties needing dealt with in the study?

as well as any general questions and your views on the design and content of the scope of the study itself.

Some other areas to address:

* The time-scale allocated (P18) for a meaningful piece of research

* The budget for the entire debate is £250,000 (390,000 Euros) compared to 4.5 million

Euros allocated in the Netherlands

* None of the scenarios include a cost/benefit analysis of the impact of a No GM Crops option

* Weighting of categories identified is towards producers not consumers

* Benefits listed are unsubstantiated

* Costs, especially health costs are difficult to quantify as there is no data

* The prominence given to developing countries in an economic study of UK

* The concentration on the impact on the biotech industry when many other industries could be affected more by commercialisation e.g. tourism employs more labour

Please send your views on the study to the Strategy Unit BY FRIDAY 25TH OCTOBER at:

Or write to: GM Crops Team Prime Minister's Strategy Unit Cabinet Office 4th Floor, Admiralty Arch The Mall LONDON SW1A 2WH

Thank you.

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