HC Deb 16 July 2001 vol 372 c59W
Mr. Laurence Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the proposed planting of genetically modified seed on New Farm, Walston, Coventry. [2866]

Mr. Meacher

The proposed Farm Scale Evaluation site of Genetically Modified maize at Walston was withdrawn by the farming and biotechnology industry body SCIMAC on 21 May 2001 in response to my request. I had asked them to reconsider the use of this site, as publicity surrounding its proximity to the Ryton Organic Gardens was potentially damaging to public confidence in the farm scale research programme as a whole.

In withdrawing the site, SCIMAC noted that the Soil Association had confirmed that, as the nearest boundary of Ryton Organic Gardens was 3km from the evaluation site, organic maize production at Ryton would not be in conflict with the separation distance set by the association as a trigger for the re-assessment of organic status.