Farmer Pulls the Plug on Key GM Crop Trial; NEIGHBOURS' FEARS FORCE LANDOWNER TO THINK AGAIN

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID DERBYSHIRE

A FARMER has abandoned a trial of genetically-modified crops, plunging the Government's testing programme into crisis.

David Rose pulled out of plans to plant 25 acres of his land with GM oilseed rape after protests from nearby residents and farmers.

His decision will be a huge blow to the Government, whose three remaining farm trials of 'Frankenstein food' crops have been delayed by legal action.

Mr Rose was to grow the

mutant crop at his farm on behalf of the German biotechnology company AgrEvo.

But after opposition from neighbours the land at Screveton, near Nottingham, is being sown with conventional oilseed rape.

Friends of the Earth, which has been granted leave to bring a judicial review of the GM trials, welcomed Mr Rose's decision. Its food campaigner Adrian Bebb said yesterday: 'This

should be congratulated.

'This is another sign that Tony Blair's great GM experiment is failing at the hands of the public. The Government should cancel these trials, ban GM food and put the enormous resources they are spending on GM into organic and sustainable farming. That's what the people of the UK want and Tony Blair is is a disaster for the Government's GM testing programme. Mr Rose has pulled the plug on one trial and Friends of the Earth's legal action may scupper the rest.

'It's time for the GM companies and the Government to realise this is a battle that they cannot win. The GM trials are bad science.

They threaten the environment. They have no public support.' Greenpeace also welcomed the move. Its campaign director Sarah Burton said: 'People who have stood up against AgrEvo and voiced their concern about this genetic pollution

a fool if he believes he can ignore them.' Mr Rose's decision comes after a summer of failed GM trials.

Over the past few months protesters have wrecked around 50 small-scale experiments, while at least two farmers have destroyed fields of test crops after complaints from locals.

Neighbouring farmers in Nottinghamshire feared that pollen from Mr Rose's GM oilseed rape could contaminate their crops, while local beekeepers complained that genetic pollution might ruin their honey. …