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Highlands and Islands Greens
Highlands and Islands Greens

Greens Back Highland Council on GM

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

Highland Green election candidates Donnie Macleod and David Jardine fully back Highland Council’s demand that the Highlands should be GM-free.  Genetically modified crops have no place in the Highlands, in Scotland, or indeed anywhere, they say.

And Donnie Macleod, the Scottish Green Party candidate in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, is calling for monitoring for contamination around the GM oil seed rape crop site at Monlochy on the Black Isle.

In “An Agenda for the Highlands”, a leaflet issued by convener Alison Magee to all candidates, Highland Council says “a halt must be made to the discredited GM farmscale trials.  Two such trials took place at Munlochy, on the Black Isle, without consultation with the local community and without any information being given to local people about the trials.  A recent independent study was very critical of the use of GM crops in these trials.”

Donnie Macleod, who farms organically at Kylerona Farm, Ardersier, said: “The government should order testing and monitoring of all oil seed rape planted within the contamination distance around the Munlochy farm where the GM crop trial took place.  We have noticed that oil seed rape is being grown again near the GM oil seed rape crop site there.  Since seeds are viable for up to 15 years, why is this being allowed without any monitoring for residual crop contamination?

“As the GM crop trials showed that damage could be caused to the environment, oil seed rape should not be allowed to flower within pollinating distance as this may lead to crop contamination.  The residents of Munlochy should look for compensation for any future damage caused to their environment.

“Mark Ruskell of the Green Party has introduced a Bill in the Scottish Parliament to make a GM company liable for any damage caused to the local environment.  While awaiting this law to come from the Scottish Executive we call on the Westminster government to ensure that a monitoring system is put in place and that GM companies are held liable on a UK basis.”

The Scottish Green Party says “Labour and the Liberal Democrats have opened the door to genetically modified crops in Scotland, despite the proven economic and environmental damage they have caused in Canada and the US.”  In their election manifesto published last week, the Greens promise to “seek all routes to make Scotland GM free, including a law to keep biotech companies at bay by holding them liable for any economic damage caused by GM crops.”

David Jardine, Green candidate in Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said: “Going down the GM route would only give more control of our agriculture to multi-national corporations – with all that implies for food security, for the independence of food producers world-wide and for the growing of good wholesome food.”