HC Deb 08 November 1999 vol 337 cc688-9
37. Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley)

When the commissioners expect to make a statement on the proposal to allow experimental growing of genetically modified organisms on the agricultural land for which they are responsible. [96160]

Mr. Stuart Bell (Second Church Estates Commissioner, representing the Church Commissioners)

The issue of whether commissioners' land should be leased to allow trials of genetically modified crops to take place is being considered initially by the Church's ethical investment working group, which develops a co-ordinated ethical investment policy for the Church.

Mr. Pike

Are any GM crops currently being grown on Church-owned land?

Mr. Bell

Currently, no GM crops are being grown on Church land. However, the commissioners have previously stated that, in respect of currently let tenanted farm land, it would be difficult in practice to stop our farmers from growing GM crops, should they want to do so. Like many farmers, ours have freedom of cropping and an attempt by the commissioners to prevent a tenant from growing GM crops might be challenged in the courts.

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