GeneWatch PR: Belgian decision will prevent GM oilseed rape being grown in Britain

For immediate release 2nd February 2004

Today, Belgian Ministers have rejected Bayer's application to grown herbicide tolerant oilseed rape in Europe. This is because the results of the UK's farm-scale evaluations had shown that growing the GM oilseed rape commercially would lead to harm to farmland wildlife.

"GeneWatch is delighted that Belgium have thrown out the application to grow GM herbicide tolerant oilseed rape in Europe", said Dr Sue Mayer, GeneWatch's Director. "Farmland birds and other wildlife will not have to face another threat".

"This is another body blow to the biotech industry", said Dr Mayer. "Bayer should withdraw all its remaining applications to grow GM oilseed rape in Europe as the tide of scientific and public opinion is clearly against them".

The Belgian Ministers have given a positive approval for importation and processing of the oilseed rape and this will now be considered by all the Member States in Europe.

Further Information:

Please contact Sue Mayer on 01298 871898 (office) or 07930 308807 (mobile)

Notes to editors:

  1. The farm-scale evaluations of GM herbicide tolerant crops were intended to investigate the effects of growing these crops on farmland wildlife. The researchers and scientific steering committee concluded in relation to oilseed rape and beet that:

    Growing GMHT beet and spring oilseed rape on a large-scale may disadvantage wildlife, particularly farmland birds, bees and butterflies…

    Growing GMHT beet and spring oilseed rape on a large-scale may exacerbate long-term declines of flowering weeds, including those that are important food resources for seed-eating birds." (Burke, M (2003) for Farmscale Evaluations Research Team and Scientific Steering Committee GM crops. Effects on farmland wildlife).

  2. Germany is considering 2 other applications from Bayer to grow GM herbicide tolerant oilseed rape in Europe.

↑ Top