HL Deb 26 June 2003 vol 650 cc43-4WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they consider that holding four public meetings, for ticket holders only, is a sufficient consultation of public opinion in the United Kingdom on the subject of genetically modified plants, animals and foods; if so, why; and when they intend to answer Lord Hylton's Questions for Written Answer dated 7 May (HL 2749), 12 May (HL 2824) and 19 May (HL 2983). [HL3299]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty)

GM Nation?—the public debate on GM issues—is being managed by an independent steering board at arm's length from government and is not limited in the way described. A total of six (not four) public regional launch events have been held in Birmingham, Swansea, Taunton, Belfast, Glasgow and Harrogate. These events were open to all and signified the beginning of the debate programme. Participants were encouraged to register their interest in attending and tickets were made available on a first come, first served basis.

The steering board has also sent hundreds of letters to local authorities and other organisations, including all county councils, inviting them to organise their own events more locally, with the help of a debate toolkit. So far 15,000 feedback forms, 5,500 booklets, 1,700 CD-ROMs and 500 videos have been sent out.

In addition, anyone can get involved in the debate through the interactive debate website at www.gmnation.org.uk. Thousands of people have already done so.

Written Answers to Questions HL 2749 and HL 2824 were given to the noble Lord on 18 June 2003 and an Answer to HL 2983 was given on 24 June 2003.

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