Scotland, Wales consult on GMO Directive

Consultations on the implementation of the revised EU Directive on deliberate releases of genetically modified organisms were launched by the Scottish and Welsh administrations in September.1

The exercises came only a few weeks after a consultation was launched in England (ENDS Report 319, pp 43-44 ), suggesting that recent experience with implementing EU Directives, with Wales in particular lagging behind implementation deadlines, should not be repeated. The deadline for the Directive is October 2002.

The three papers are couched in very similar terms. The main discordant note was struck by the Welsh Assembly, which says it is "committed to the most restrictive policy on GMOs as is possible within the context of EU legislation."

The Assembly has already broken ranks with the rest of the UK by introducing mandatory separation between GM and other maize crops (ENDS Report 316, pp 7-8 ). The move had to be notified to the European Commission, signalling the Assembly's "principled concerns relating to the incompatibility of the EU GM and organic regimes," the paper notes.

The paper also hints that the Assembly may wish to take its own stance on the use of simplified fast-track authorisation procedures for experimental GMO releases, and on how ethical and socio-economic issues raised by releases of GMOs should be communicated to the new EU machinery for dealing with them.

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