HC Deb 24 February 1998 vol 307 c141W
Mr. Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the potential impact on the wild bee population of the introduction of transgenic insect resistant plants; and if he will make a statement. [30803]

Mr. Meacher

The importance of bees in the pollination of crops is taken into consideration in the review of all applications to release genetically modified plants. The risks that crops genetically modified for insect resistance pose to non-target beneficial species such as bees will depend on the crop plant and the genes for insect resistance which are introduced. To affect bees the inserted insect resistance genes must be expressed in the plant's pollen. To date, no applications have been submitted for the release of such plants in the United Kingdom. My Department let a contract to IACR Rothamsted in October 1996 to investigate the effects of insect resistant GM crops on non-target insects. This research is investigating the interactions between insect resistant GM oilseed rape and commonly associated insect species under carefully controlled conditions. The results of this research will be published on completion of the project in 1999.