20/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 10:59

Rothamsted: Security increased at GM wheat trial

Category: England

Published: 27th May 2012 03:33:36

Security around an experimental crop in a Hertfordshire field has been increased to prevent any damage during a day of action by opponents.

Campaigners against the genetically modified wheat will be kept away from the Harpenden test site, run by Rothamsted Research, on Sunday.

They are concerned about potential contamination from the cereal, but researchers say it is infinitely small.

St Albans District Council had to apply for permission for extra police powers.

It received consent of the home secretary.

The wheat project aims to see whether the modified crops can deter aphids - a major wheat pest.

Opponents are not against the trial itself, but are worried about it taking place in the open air, and the threat that the surrounding area could be contaminated.

Rothamsted Research says its work has been independently checked and that the possibility of contamination as the pollen is blown in the wind is infinitely small.

St Albans District Council is hoping for a safe, lawful and peaceful protest in a nearby park on Sunday.

The council's executive leader, Julian Daly, said: "We are particularly concerned that a demonstration on Rothamsted's land may put historic crop trials at risk.

"Continuous trials have been under way there for over 160 years and are of international significance for the future of world farming."

Anti-GM group Take the Flour Back has vowed to "decontaminate" the site unless the research is halted.

On its website it says a walk from a nearby park will take place to the site on Sunday afternoon.

"This action is for everyone who feels able to help remove the GM crop, and for those who wish to show their support for them," it said.

Rothamsted has previously pleaded with anti-GM campaigners not to destroy their experimental plots.

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BBC News, 2012. Rothamsted: Security increased at GM wheat trial [Online] (Updated 27th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1431112/Rothamsted-Security-increased-at-GM-wheat-trial [Accessed 20th Aug 2014]

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