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Bates backs European court ruling on GM

September 12, 2003 3:45 PM

Mick Bates AMMick Bates AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson, today responded to the European Court of Justice ruling that allows EU governments to temporarily ban genetically-modified foods if they think they pose a health risk.

He said: "This ruling confirms that the Labour Assembly Government (LAG) can now press the case to maintain Wales' GM-free status, citing the potential impact of GM crops upon the Welsh environment".

Following comments made by EU Agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler at the recent Royal Welsh Show it had previously been proposed by the Commission that LAG would be legally unable to declare Wales GM-free.

"I am hopeful that we can get a full and frank debate", said Mr Bates, "If the government really wants a decision based on sound science rather than hasty science, then it should use these powers to enact an extended ban until reassurances can be presented".

Last month Mr Bates issued a GM referendum challenge to Labour, saying that the most important issue at stake was what the Welsh people wanted in terms of GM.

Notes to Editors:

* More information on the ruling is available on the European Court of Justice (ECJ) website, http://curia.eu.int/en/actu/communiques/cp03/aff/cp0367en.htm

* The results of the UK government's 'Farm Scale Trials' are due this autumn.

* Research by the National Consumer Council (NCC) shows that 6 out of 10 people think the government has handled important decisions on GM technology badly, <<a href="http://cgi.www.ncc.org.uk/cgi-bin/www.ncc.org.uk/kmdb10.cgi/listcurrent.htm">http://cgi.www.ncc.org.uk/cgi-bin/www.ncc.org.uk/kmdb10.cgi/listcurrent.htm>