The Government has now announced the number and locations of the farm scale trials to be planted in Spring 2001. There will be 27 GM oil seed rape trials, 26 GM beet trials and 25 GM maize trials at sites throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Details of the trial site locations (including the six-figure grid references) are on the DETR website.
The four year farm scale trial programme was launched by the Government in 1999 in response to widespread calls for a halt to the development of GM crops. The GM farm scale trials have not been designed to consider the direct impact of GM crops on the environment. They have been designed only to compare the impact of two different herbicide regimes, one used in the management of GM crops and the other in the management of conventional crops, on farmland wildlife and biodiversity.
The GM farm scale trial research itself will not answer the majority of concerns about GM technology, is a waste of public money best spent developing sustainable agricultural solutions, and an unacceptable environmental and economic threat to the local communities surrounding the trials.
The farm scale trials are a cynical misuse of science by the UK Government and the biotech industry. Like scientific whaling, this 'scientific research' is no more than a charade that barely conceals the underlying aim of commercialisation of GM crops as fast as possible - a technology for which there is no UK market demand.