HL Deb 30 July 1998 vol 592 c236WA
Earl Peel

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the trials of genetically modified crops, currently being undertaken in the United Kingdom, are subject to comprehensive post-release monitoring systems which encompass their effect on biological processes and their indirect effects. [HL3019]

Lord Whitty

All trials of genetically modified crops currently being carried out in the United Kingdom are subject to a comprehensive post-release monitoring system to ensure that any adverse effects to human health and environment are minimised or prevented. The submission of monitoring reports to the Secretary of State on the outcome of each release forms part of this post-release monitoring system.

Most experimental trails are transient and small scale. The principle purpose of the post-trial monitoring is to confirm that any assumptions made in the risk assessment were valid and to ensure that methods used to terminate the trial are effective.

Since 1995, the Government has been funding research to monitor commercial-scale releases of herbicide tolerant oilseed rape to measure gene transfer to wild relatives and changes in agronomic practice. The Government recognise that at a commercial scale indirect effects such as changes in agronomic practice on biodiversity may be important and are currently discussing these wider issues with colleagues in other Government departments and conservation bodies.