UK and coexistence

In 2003, the UK Government held a public debate and conducted reviews of the science and economics of GM crops to develop their policy in the area. The Government announced its policy in March 2004 which included that GM crops would not be allowed to be grown commercially in the UK until coexistence rules covering the growing of GM crops were agreed.

Under European Guidelines, each country in the European Union is allowed to establish its own rules to limit contamination. Within the UK this has been devolved to the regional administrations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

In July 2006 DEFRA ran a consultation process on a proposal to allow for a 0.9% contamination of non-GM crops. The consultation documents can be found on the DEFRA website and the GeneWatch UK response is listed below.

On 30 June 2009 the Welsh Assembly Government launched its consultation on proposals for managing the co-existence of genetically modified, conventional and organic crops in Wales.  The consultation documents can be found the website of the Welsh Assembly Government and the GeneWatch response is listed below.

Key issues include:

  • what level of contamination is the target maximum for conventional non-GM and organic produce;

  • who will pay for any economic losses caused by GM contamination;

  • whether or not areas of the UK could establish themselves as GM-free.


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