Mr. John D. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many trials of genetically engineered crops are taking place in Northern Ireland; how many applications to proceed with trials of genetically modified crops have been submitted for approval in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on co-operation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on the issue of genetically-modified crops. 
§ Mr. George Howarth
The Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland is a Competent Authority within the United Kingdom for carrying out the regulatory requirements of EU Directive 90/220/EC to control the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms.
In 1996 the Department received the only application so far for a release consent in Northern Ireland from the Department of Agriculture (Northern Ireland) to carry out a small field trial on potatoes. This application, which was approved, was dealt with through the regulatory system and papers about it are available for viewing in a statutory public register, which is held by the Department of the Environment's Environmental Policy Division in River House, 48 High Street, Belfast BT1 2AW.
There are currently no trials of genetically engineered crops taking place in Northern Ireland.
In the Department's capacity as a Competent Authority, it liaises, along with other UK Competent Authorities, with all EU member states, including the Republic of Ireland, at Competent Authority meetings. Liaison with the Republic of Ireland authority has otherwise been as required.