• STV
  • MySTV

Scottish Government to ban growing genetically modified crops

Ministers are to request an opt-out from European consents for the cultivation of GM crops, meaning they can't be grown in Scotland.

Maize or corn field. Shared under Creative Commons by Flickr User Manu. Quality News image uploaded August 9 2015
©Manu Creative Commons (Cropped)

Growing genetically modified crops will be banned in Scotland after ministers decided they are not prepared to "gamble with the future" of Scotland's £14bn food and drink sector.

The Scottish Government will request an opt-out from European consents for the cultivation of GM crops, including an EU-approved variety of genetically modified maize and six other GM crops that are awaiting authorisation.

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 £14bn food and drink sector.

"Scottish food and drink is valued at home and abroad for its natural, high quality which often attracts a premium price, and I have heard directly from food and drink producers in other countries that are ditching GM because of a consumer backlash.

"That is why I strongly support the continued application of the precautionary principle in relation to GM crops and intend to take full advantage of the flexibility allowed under these new EU rules to ban GM crops from being grown in Scotland.

"The Scottish Government has long-standing concerns about GM crops - concerns that are shared by other European countries and consumers, and which should not be dismissed lightly.

"I firmly believe that GM policy in Scotland should be guided by what's best for our economy and our own agricultural sector rather than the priorities of others. I recently kicked off a national discussion on the future of Scottish agriculture, and welcome views from all sides of the GM debate."

Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: "Opting out of growing genetically-modified crops is the right move for Scotland.

"Cultivation of GM crops would harm our environment and our reputation for high quality food and drink.

"GM is not the answer to food security, and would represent further capture of our food by big business. Scotland has huge potential with a diverse mix of smaller-scale producers and community food initiatives, and we need to see those grow further.

"While the Scottish Government's decision is a step in the right direction, we need to see ministers go further.

"Most consumers want meat, eggs and dairy labelled to show whether they come from animals fed on GM feed. The Scottish Government needs to challenge big retailers to improve their labelling so that we have real choice as shoppers."

Scott Walker, NFU Scotland chief executive said: "We are disappointed that the Scottish Government has decided that no GM crops should ever be grown in Scotland.

"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.

"What we want is an open debate that then allows decisions to be taken from an informed position reflecting current technology.”

Huw Jones, professor of molecular genetics at agricultural science group Rothamsted Research, said: "This is a sad day for science and a sad day for Scotland.

"GM crops approved by the EU are safe for humans, animals and the environment and it's a shame the Scottish Parliament think cultivation would harm their food and drink sector.

"If approved, this decision serves to remove the freedom of Scottish farmers and narrows their choice of crop varieties to cultivate in the future."

Picture copyright Manu and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.