Scotland to ban cultivation of GM crops
Growing genetically modified (GM) crops will not be permitted in Scotland, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced.
Mr Lochhead has confirmed that the Scottish government intends to take advantage of new EU rules allowing countries to opt out of growing EU-authorised GM crops.
The government will shortly submit a request that Scotland is excluded from any European consents for the cultivation of GM crops, including the variety of genetically modified maize already approved and six other GM crops that are awaiting authorisation.
Mr Lochhead said: “There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector.
“Scottish food and drink is valued at home and abroad for its natural, high quality which often attracts a premium price, and I have heard directly from food and drink producers in other countries that are ditching GM because of a consumer backlash.
“That is why I strongly support the continued application of the precautionary principle in relation to GM crops and intend to take full advantage of the flexibility allowed under these new EU rules to ban GM crops from being grown in Scotland.”
Scott Walker, chief executive of the farming union NFU Scotlandexpressed disappointment at the decision.
He said: “Other countries are embracing biotechnology where appropriate and we should be open to doing the same here in Scotland.
“These crops could have a role in shaping sustainable agriculture at some point and at the same time protecting the environment which we all cherish in Scotland.”