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Three New Sites for Warwickshire GM Crops

Three more sites in Warwickshire are to take part in GM crop trials, it has been announced.

The Government said that farms in Harbury, near Leamington, as well as Long Marston and Alderminster, both south of Stratford, will be taking part in the latest rounds of experiments.

Winter testing will see GM oil-seed rape planted at 25 locations around Britain in the latest series involving genetically-modified crops.

Previous tests have seen crops damaged by protesters and there has been intensive campaigning in the national media to stop the trials.

Tory Euro-MP Philip Bushill-Matthews is on the Environment Committee in the European Parliament and has visited several GM sites.

He said that the crop trials are ‘more eco-friendly’ than traditional farming methods. 

The MEP lives in Harbury, close to one of the new sites announced this week. But he has no fears over living close to the controversial location. He said:.

“The issue is that GM crops are good for farms, but also good for the counsumers like me and you.

“These crops need much less spraying and less toxic chemicals which has has got to be good for the environment. It means there are less pesticides and toxins in the air and the water.

“People do have fears of the unknown and I think it should all be out in the open with nothing to hide.

“We are a democratic country and it is right these details are available. I have spent a lot of time with farmers and I think these trials should go ahead"

He said it was best that the details were out in the open, otherwise it would force the trial details to be hidden and kept secret.

But a Friends of the Earth spokesman said the public did not want further GM tests which polluted the country.

Chris Crean, Midlands officer, said the group could not support further testing.

He said it did not matter how large the buffer zones were around the sites, they were inadequate to stop contamination of nearby organic or non-GM farms.

Tests had shown that bees can travel up to 4.5km so the size of buffer zones being used were pointless. He said:

“We have not yet sent the evaluation of the tests done in the summer. We need to see those before there is any more testing.

“We think there are serious risks of contamination and that could be dangerous to the livelihoods of farmers and affect their viability.

“These tests need to be tightly controlled and not affect other farms."

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CWN / Environment / 04 Aug 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM