GM Free South West

Press Release
For immediate release 9/03/04
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Government ignores South West concerns over GM

The Governments statement on GM today comes as a slap in the face for
councils across the South West, who have been passing resolutions aimed
protecting their areas from GM contamination, and for the thousands of
members of the public from the region who took part in the Government public
debate last year.

The decision is being seen as an attempt to give a green light to the
growing of GM crops within the UK. The move to allow commercialization comes
less then a week after a report from the Environmental Audit Commission. The
report highlighted the inadequate testing that had been carried out on GM
Maize, and pointed out that the tests were invalid due to the use of the,
now banned, pesticide Atrazine, that. It suggested that at least another 4
years of testing would be required to decide if the crop was safe. It also
follows on from a public debate which rejected GM Crops and moves by over 40
councils across the UK, 15 from within the South West, to ban GM food and
crops from areas under council control

Keith Hatch from the GM Free South West Campaign. "Margaret Becketts
statement today shows complete contempt for the views of the vast majority
of people within the UK, and the South West in particular. Councils from
Cornwall to Glocestershire have been listening to the public and making
moves to become to GM-free, yet the government is more interested in the
interests of large biotech companies than the genuine concerns of the
electorate. Fifteen local authorities in the region have gone GM-free so far
and  the Regional Assembly is meeting at the end of the week to discuss the
issue. The question at the moment must be why will the government not listen
to its own reports, local authorities and the public ?"

The South West region has seen some of strongest opposition to GM crops, the
region is well know for small scale local and organic agriculture which
would be devastated by the commercial growing of GM crops. At the present
time there are no regulations in place to protect farmers from contamination
and no system of liability for these farmers to seek compensation. A report
from the US this weekend showed that roughly tow thirds of conventional
crops in the US were now contaminated with GM material.

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Notes
For Editors:

So far the following councils have passed GM Free resolutions within the
South West.
Counties
Cornwall * ,Devon ,Dorset ,Gloucestershire * ,Somerset

Unitary Authorities

Bath & North East Somerset, Bournemouth Borough Council , Bristol City
Council *, South Glos Borough Council *

Districts
Mid Devon District Council *, Penwith District Council, South Hams District
Council *, South Somerset District Council *, West Dorset District Council,
Weymouth & Portland Borough Council

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