Anti-GM Reports Are Just Scaremongering; Farmer's Standing Firm over Genetic Research

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Byline: Hywel Trewyn

A NORTH Wales farmer who defied the Welsh Assembly by growing genetically modified crops remained unrepentant yesterday - despite a new Government report revealing possible dangers.

The study details evidence of contamination between engineered oilseed rape and non-GM plants during a six-year Govern-ment research programme. The results immediately prompted fears herbicide-resistant super-weeds could be created after researchers found w ild turnip was affected by the transfer of genes when p lanted next to oilseed rape. Farmer John Cottle p lanted geneti-cally modified maize at his farm in Sealand, Flintshire, for two years. Plans to plant a third crop were turned down last year after the UK environment and food department Defra chose 35 sites in England instead. Friends of the Earth Cymru claimed the Welsh Assembly's strong stance against GM crops was instrumental in the decision by Defra.But last night Mr Cottle, whose maize crops were ripped up by protesters, played down the new evidence. ``It doesn't surprise me at all. Interbreeding occurs normally. There's no sur-prise there. There's nothing new real-ly,'' he said. ``Any farmers' crop interbreeds but not with weeds in hedgerows. A crop like rape would compete with similar crops like mustard. ``That happens anyway if GM crops are there or not. ``If GM crops are grown, there will be a separation distance between t he crop and other crops.'' Mr Cottle last night remained con-vinced GM crops were good for the environment. …