§ Mrs. Lawrence
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the Secretary for Rural Affairs of the National Assembly for Wales about the proposed trial growing of GM maize at Mathry, Pembrokeshire. 
§ Mr. Hanson
I have regular discussions with the Secretary for Rural Affairs of the National Assembly for Wales on a variety of issues, including GM issues.
The decision on locations for the trials was taken by the scientific steering committee, on the basis of advice from the research consortium and information about the availability of sites from the supply chain initiative on modified agricultural crops (SCIMAC).
§ Mrs. Lawrence
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Cabinet Office concerning the National Assembly for Wales's policy on GM crops. 
§ Mr. Hanson
As a member of the Ministerial Committee on Biotechnology and Genetic Modification, I have regular discussions with the Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, on policy on GM crops.
European Directive 90/220/EEC governs the release and marketing of GMOs in the European Union. It recognises two broad categories of release of GMOs into the environment: part B releases for research trials and part C releases for marketing purposes.
Applications for part C consents in any EU member state are circulated to the European Commission and to all other member states, who forward them to their experts and competent authorities (including the devolved Administrations in the case of the UK). When all member states have commented and if there are no objections, then the application will proceed. Once a part C consent has been approved in any one member state of the European Union, it is valid throughout the European Union. GM Maize already has a part C consent.
However, the Government have negotiated a voluntary written agreement with the industry biotechnology body, SCIMAC, that there will be no commercial growing of GM crops for a three-year period during which farm scale evaluations (FSEs) are undertaken. This means there will 690W be no widespread planting leading to general market access of GM crops grown in the UK until the FSEs are complete.
In Great Britain, directive 90/220 has been implemented by part VI of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990 and the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 1992, as amended in 1995 and 1997. The functions of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food under part VI of the EPA have been transferred to the National Assembly for Wales. The Assembly has now recognised that it does not have a sufficient basis for the exercise of its powers under section 110 of the EPA 1990 to restrict the planting of GM crops on the sites currently proposed. It now proposes to place existing separation distances between sites of GM and non-GM means of production on a statutory basis. This will trigger a notification to Europe under article 16 of European directive 90/220, affording the Assembly an opportunity to take its concerns directly to the European Commission.
UK Ministers continue to keep the issues under review and are committed to ensuring the coexistence of different types of farming.