HC Deb 08 July 2002 vol 388 cc697-8W
Alan Simpson

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when ACRE formed its sub-group to look into the impact of releasing genetically modified organisms on soil ecology; how many times the group has met; which(a) laboratories and (b) trial sites are being used for the monitored research; and when the research findings will be available. [54475]

Mr. Meacher

The current workplan of the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) as published in their 2000 Annual Report included provision for six workgroups to be established in two phases. Three were established last year. The second phase to start this summer, will include a subgroup to review the impact of GMOs on soil ecology. The group will give consideration to potential hazards and how they might be realised, the current or future GM crops and traits that might give most concern to soil ecology and where the main gaps are in current scientific understanding. The group has not yet met and is not carrying out any research in laboratories or in the field. The outputs of this group including minutes of meetings will be published on the ACRE website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/acre/index.htm.

Mr. Key

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the scientific assessments peer reviews that data from the GM field scale evaluations will undergo; and in what order they will take place. [65517]

Mr. Meacher

The data from the farm-scale evaluations will be collated, analysed and presented in the form of a series of scientific papers written by the research consortium conducting the ecological studies. Their work is being overseen by the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) to ensure that it is of the highest scientific standard.

Once complete and approved by the SSC, the papers will be submitted to a reputable scientific journal for peer review and publication at the discretion of the journal. We anticipate that the report of the spring-sown crops, maize, spring oil seed rape and beet, will be published in summer 2003 and the autumn-sown oil seed rape in 2004.

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