1.GM crops to be grown at military sites
2.DEFRA plans secret GM trial sites

COMMENT by the Soil Association: Once again the government appears to be siding with the GM industry rather than public interest on the issue of GM crop trials.

Opponents to GM crop trials are dismissed as ignorant vandals, but problems of GM contamination in America confirm that their concerns are based not on irrational fear, but on hard evidence.

In 2006 it was discovered that 30% of the entire US long-grain rice supply had become contaminated by experimental GM rice varieties unapproved for human consumption. Not only was this a public safety disaster, but also cost the rice industry over $1 billion. The contamination source? 'Controlled' field trials.

Open GM field trials pose a serious risk to both the environment and our food supply, and to suggest that GM crops are the only way to feed the world in future is simply wrong. The recent IAASTD assessment by over 400 scientists worldwide stated that GM crops were unlikely to provide any contribution to our future food security.
1.GM crops to be grown at military sites
Ellen Widdup
Evening Standard (London), 17 November 2008

THE Government is drawing up plans to grow genetically modified crops in top secret military locations to thwart saboteurs.

The campaign may see crops grown at sites such as Porton Down in Salisbury, which carries out military research and includes a science park.

The police could also be asked to target opponents of GM crops in the same way they have clamped down on some animal rights protesters.

Ministers intend to scrap a rule that says scientists must disclose the location of GM crop trials on a government website. Hilary Benn, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson are also demanding a review of security arrangements.

Mr Benn said: "We need to see if they [GM foods] have a contribution to make and we won't know the answer about their environmental impact unless we run controlled experiments."
2.DEFRA plans secret GM trial sites
Farmers Weekly interactive (FWi), 17 November 2008

The locations of genetically modified crop trials will be kept secret in the future to prevent protesters from wrecking the trial sites, DEFRA has announced.

Almost all of the 54 GM crop trials conducted since 2000 have been vandalised because of government rules which stated that the grid reference of the trial had to be publicised.

DEFRA also plans to conduct the trials at more secure locations from now on.

Farm fields and university sites were chosen in the past, allowing protesters to gain access. In the future secure government sites such as Porton Down near Salisbury, which carries out military research, will be used instead.

Ministers will also have more power to crack down on the opponents of GM crops. Rules introduced in 2005 have given police more powers to prosecute activists after Huntingdon Life Sciences was attacked by animal rights extremists.

"We need to see if they [GM foods] have a contribution to make - and we won't know the answer unless we run controlled experiments," said Hilary Benn, the DEFRA secretary.

Gordon Brown is aware that there has been public opposition to previous GM trials - notably from young mothers - but has said he will follow the science.