Scotland: Fury at new GM trials
by John Ross - The Scotsman, 2 March 2001
THE Scottish executive came in for further criticism yesterday for announcing new applications for GM crop trials in Scotland amid the country’s foot and mouth crisis.
Four farms have applied to take part in the spring round of farm-scale tests - Smithton, near Inverness, Auldearn, near Nairn, and Daviot, Aberdeenshire. Sowing should start later this month.
The executive said approval will be granted only if ministers are satisfied the crop can be grown without posing a threat to the environment or public safety. But Dr Kenny Taylor, chairman of the Highlands and Islands GM Concern group, which is fighting a GM trial in Munlochy in the Black Isle, said: "We are astounded by the timing of this announcement. In the context of the current crisis it could not be more crass. We already have the foot and mouth crisis on top of the problems facing agriculture and now we get this which could do more harm to the area."
The news was also attacked by Highland Council which last year failed in an attempt to block the GM trial at Munlochy. David Green, the council convener, accused Ross Finnie, the rural development minister, of announcing the applications late on Wednesday evening during the "twilight media hours".
David Alston, a Black Isle councillor, called for decisions to be delayed until a government commission reported on the Munlochy trial.