The Scottish Government has said that it will use a revised approach to the approval of genetically modified crops to request a ban in the country.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said, “Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment – and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status. There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector.”
However, the move has been condemned by farming leaders north of the border, particularly as it is at odds with Westminster’s attitude towards GM crops. Scott Walker, NFU Scotland Chief Executive said: “Other countries are embracing biotechnology where appropriate and we should be open to doing the same here in Scotland.
“Decisions should be taken on the individual merits of each variety, based on science and determined by whether the variety will deliver overall benefit. These crops could have a role in shaping sustainable agriculture at some point and at the same time protecting the environment which we all cherish in Scotland.
It is unclear whether the ban would apply to scientific and experimental research, but Scotland’s research establishments, including the James Hutton Institute and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health have been at the forefront of researching the technology.