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Gm Crops

Volume 407: debated on Friday 20 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers she has to accept or reject the advice of the Advisory Committee on Releases into the Environment with respect to proposed GM releases into the environment. [119076]

The Advisory Committee on Releases into the Environment is the statutory committee appointed under section 124(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to advise my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on the exercise of her powers in granting consents for the release of genetically modified organisms and other relevant matters. The Secretary of State may accept or reject the advice of the committee, but decisions must be based on an assessment of risks to human health or the environment and other criteria set out in the legislation and are open to challenge through the courts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received regarding the licensing of GM crops for commercial use from (a) farming organisations, (b) supermarkets, (c) other Governments and (d) others. [119257]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, and Defra Ministers and officials regularly receive representations on GM crops from a wide range of stakeholders, including farming organisations, supermarkets, other Governments and others. No central record is kept of these communications.