Letter: GM facts ignored

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Thank you for continuing to give prominence to GM issues. There is every reason to proceed with the greatest caution with this new technology. Yet the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) is clearly determined to press ahead immediately.

The news that the department may be on the point of voting in the European Union for the commercial release of GM oilseed rape (report, 5 August) is particularly dismaying, and flies in the face of all the assurances of caution that have been uttered by Government ministers in recent months.

The DETR's policy seems to have survived from Tory to Labour government unchanged. The DETR Advisory Committee on Releases into the environment (Acre) has approved all sixty of the applications considered during the past seven years. Objectors (including myself) who have submitted detailed dossiers of evidence to this committee have been largely ignored. In true "Sir Humprey" fashion, we have received letters pointing out that the UK regulations allow for public "comment", not "consultation". So yes, we can write in, but no, they are under no obligation to take the slightest notice of what we say.


Witney, Oxfordshire