Just to let you know that on Sunday 1st July subsidised transport will be going to Cambridge from Manchestser for the GM-Free Potato Picnic, a protest against GM potato trials in Girton village. For information on the minibus call 07982 033522.
This means the BASF/NIAB site in Cambridge (planted around the beginning of May) is now the only location in Britain where GM crops are contaminating the countryside…
One down, one to go - let’s keep Britain GM free!
It's not too late to stop GM spuds. Join us for a walk to see the trial site and a protest picnic.
Bring costumes, families, footwear and clothing for a country stroll and your favourite potato-based dish. Starting from Girton Parish Church, Girton, Cambridgeshire.
12 Noon, Sunday July 1st
See www.mutatoes.org for directions, help with transport and more detailed information on the campaign.
BASF announced on the 14th May that they would not go ahead with the Hedon trial this year. When the trials were originally announced in March 2007, beekeepers expressed concerns to the borage farmers about the possible contamination of borage honey with GM pollen and pointed to their industry's guidance that required hives to be a minimum of 6 miles from the nearest GM site.
It was reported that the owner of the proposed GM site near Hull wanted the borage farmers concerns had to be dealt with before he finally agreed to the trial going ahead. BASF's u-turn on going ahead with the trial in 2007 suggests that attempts to reassure borage farmers concerns were unsuccessful. However, the statutory approval granted to BASF is valid until 2011.
The case has wider implications for GM crops. Last year Defra's consultation on the coexistence of GM, conventional and organic crops did not include beekeepers in the list of people who would be statutorily required to be informed by a farmer intending to commercially grow a GM crop.
Pete Riley of GM Freeze said: "The cancellation of the Hedon GM potato site is warmly welcomed - we could never see the point of allowing this commercial development trial to go ahead when we already have a growing number of blight resistant potato varieties produced by conventional plant breeding. Consumers don't want GM potatoes and the potato processors have said they will not use them. We hope this is the end of GM trialling in Hedon and the rest of the UK.......The impact of the trials on honey and beekeepers has been central to the cancellation. If any GM crops are ever approved for commercial growing in the UK this type of problem could become common place. Defra have repeatedly tried to ignore the impact of GM crops on beekeepers and the potential economic impacts but at Hedon they have been stung. The economic and agricultural importance of honey bees can no longer by sidelined by Defra's GM policies. Ministers need to learn the lesson of the debacle over the Hedon site and protect beepers from GM contamination in the future".