§ Mr. Meacher
[holding answer 6 November 2000]: I have been asked to reply.
In the United Kingdom, the first GM crop plant to be released under a consent issued in accordance with Part B of Directive 90/220/EEC was in April 1993. It was an oilseed rape modified for fungal tolerance. However, over the previous five years a number of different GM crop plants had been released under the interim arrangements which were in place before the Genetically Modified (Deliberate Release) regulations came into force on 1 February 1993.
The first GM crop to be planted in the United Kingdom under a part C consent was a herbicide tolerant oilseed rape. The consent was issued in February 1996 for seed production purposes only and not for general cultivation. The legislation does not require the location and time of sowing of crops covered by Part C consents to be notified to the authorities and we do not hold this information. However, we do have an assurance from Aventis, who hold this consent, that no plants have been grown in the UK under this consent since 1997.
Information on all the consents for GM crops issued in the United Kingdom is available on the public register held in my Department.