David Lidington: Public deserves more research on GM

Commenting on the Genetically Modified Field Trail results published today, David Lidington MP, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said:

"The evidence published today would not justify a decision to authorise the commercial growing of GM crops.

"These results deserve careful study. I shall want to hear the views of other scientists on the findings published by their professional peers.

"The fact that the impact of different GM seeds on wild plants and invertebrates varies so markedly shows that we must proceed with scepticism and caution. There should be no blanket approval. Any variety of GM seed proposed for licensing should be subjected to rigorous field trials and risk analysis.

"In two instances, GM sugar beet and rape, the evidence clearly suggests that commercial cultivation would cause environmental harm. Although the results for GM maize indicate environmental benefits, that conclusion depends at least in part on the effectiveness of the herbicide used to kill weeds in the control crop. The recent EU ban on atrazine has thrown doubt on the validity of the maize trials. This issue needs to be addressed through further scientific debate and, possibly, a new round of crop trials.

"Other serious issues like the risk of cross-pollination to organic and other non-GM crops and liability for any harm found to have been caused by GM were not addressed at all in these farm-scale tests. The Government needs to resolve these issues too before any decision to authorise commercial GM crops in Britain.

"Policy on GM needs to be driven by reliable scientific evidence and a rounded consideration of our national interest."

ENDS

For more information contact Alexander Moore on 0207 984 8185