News

Threat to GM Free Farming in Scotland

Commercial planting of GM crops is currently banned in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland following decisions in 2015 – but without EU protection, the Tories are now threatening to overrule the devolved administrations and drive down Scotland’s high-quality food standards., states SNP MSP Maree Todd.

Despite the ban, UK Government ministers can override Scottish Ministers in certain areas, including in farming and food standards.

Click on this link for the UK Government (Defra) consultation: The regulation of genetic technologies

Closing date :  by 23:59 on Wednesday 17 March 2021

The proposal to introduce pesticide neonicotinoid is a promise which has been explicitly broken after Michael Gove promised not to U-turn on it. The pesticide is used for sugar beet but is harmful to bees, continued Maree Todd.

Maree Todd said:

“The harsh realities of the Tories’ Power Grab Bill are coming home to roost now, with Boris Johnson’s government threatening to impose GM crops on Scotland – despite a ban.

“Our local food and drink sector is world-renowned for being of the highest quality, so these plans to introduce GM crops will come as a devastating blow to an industry which is already struggling to deal with the impact of Brexit.

“Thanks to the Tories, the UK’s global reputation may well be damaged beyond repair, but we want to maintain Scotland’s clean, green reputation when it comes to food and drink standards.

“If the Tories won’t listen to the warnings from Scottish farmers throughout the Highlands & Islands and across Scotland, then it is clear the only way to protect Scotland’s interests is as an independent, European nation.”

“Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees Please”

6 replies »

  1. “Like” seems to be the wrong label I would give to my reply. I am pleased to have this item published but furious that such wanton degradation of our farming techniques, crops and wildlife should even be contemplated. Sadly however I am not surprised because this incompetent Westminster government seems capable of anything and their supposed support for a greener future is clearly rings hollow

  2. Boyo, boy that buffoon Bojo and his side-kicks Gove and Jack certainly know how to start riots that will make the ‘Poll Tax’ riots look like Sunday School picnics. First the Fishermen are gunning for him, I heard one Loch Fyne shell fisherman saying that if things don’t improve this week then they will deliver them onto the streets of Whitehall. As a schoolboy my family had taken us on a caravan holiday touring the South West coast of France and in the fishing village of Trinité-Sur-Mer the local sardine fishermen were very angry with the French Government over prices being paid so they tipped-out their catch all around the harbour. I might just add it was near mid-day on a very hot July afternoon and very quickly there was a horrible fishy stink that emptied all the small cafes and bars that surrounded the harbour – the Government capitulated. Sadly it’s January and this threatened action would take several more days to achieve the same pong but it would be a message!!!

    • Tipping the fish/shellfish outside 10 Downing St would be a good one – but they wouldn’t be able to get near enough. The Houses of Parliament would do.

  3. Scottish agricultural produce is celebrated the world over, and rightly so.
    Scotland has nearly a dozen recognised food products protected under EU law including, among others, Stornoway black pudding, Orkney cheddar, Scotch lamb and of course, Scotch whisky. Obviously, the Scottish brand is important. The SNP argue that the Scottish “clean and green” brand is endangered by GM.
    This is a straw man argument. Take for example the humble Scottish potato – essential accompaniment to haggis on Burns night, the perfect partner in every haddock supper. The average Scottish potato will receive upward of ten chemical treatments to stave off potato blight (think Irish potato famine). Each treatment is a cost to farmers. Each treatment is an impact on the environment. Each application necessarily involves a tractor, fuel and labour costs, and it is repeated ten times. Traditional agriculture is heavily reliant on substantial chemical input to fertilise and protect from pests and disease. Now imagine a genetically modified, blight-resistant potato, no chemical treatments, no tractors, no fuel, no labour costs. Exactly which is the “clean and green” approach?
    Clean and Green” invokes the image of organic farming. Almost all farmland in Scotland is worked by farmers who rely upon pesticides, herbicides fungicides and fertilisers to grow their crops, rear their livestock, all for the sole purpose of feeding us. And many of these farmers are on a knife-edge of profitability. A substantial proportion of their income is spent on chemicals. Indeed it is not uncommon for the cost of the seed spray and fertiliser to actually outweigh the return on certain crops. This is just not sustainable and higher yielding and more disease resistant varieties are vital.
    So how stands the science? Step forward Anne Glover, until recently professor of molecular biology at Aberdeen University, former Chief Scientist to the Scottish Government, and late advisor to the President of the European Commission. She is clear and unequivocal: “The technology used to generate GM crops is safe – that is the scientific consensus.” She derides opposition to GMOs as “a form of madness.” Interestingly her position is shared by Stephen Tindale, former executive director of Greenpeace UK, who declared that he “had to speak out” because he believed the technology was safe and could help alleviate hunger in the developing world science and determined by whether the variety will deliver overall benefit.”

    The Scottish Government has once again turned a deaf ear to the needs of farmers. It has ignored the advice of its former Chief Scientist, turned its back upon the GM research of Scottish institutions. In the final analysis the Scottish Government has determined that political expediency is more important than the challenges of feeding the planet and reducing farmers’ dependency upon chemicals. Or is it all just cementing the SNP-Green Party axis ahead of the Holyrood elections? Either way, welcome to ‘clean and green Scotland,’ where neither science nor the needs of farmers will get in the way of the SNP’s pursuit of a good headline.

  4. Tom raises some very interesting and useful things to consider which can’t be ignored
    However I would still ask “what devastation will there be if Bees are eliminated?”
    Sometimes nature has the answer Science can”t find

Leave a Reply