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GM Crops – Shaping the Regional Policy Stance

Joyce Tait   Shefaly Yogendra

July 1 2004 – September 30 2004

Background

Based on our experience with the GM crops debate in the UK and more widely, Innogen was asked to tender for a contract to advise on the implications for the South West Region of declaring a GM-free zone within the EU. This request arose from our report on Innogen's first international conference, produced in January 2004.

Aims and objectives

In advising on the question of declaring a GM-free zone in SW the following issues were addressed:

  • The economic and social implications of making the proposed decisions
  • The lessons from the other EU regions in the network of GMO free regions
  • Enabling the regions to influence the debate
  • Advising on the deliverability of the Regional position

Research methods

  • Assessing the economic conditions and demographics of the South West to understand their competitive advantage as a predominantly agrarian region
  • Identification of key regions in UK and Europe with clear pro- and anti-GM stances
  • Identifying arguments on all sides of the debate, paying special attention to the economic and social considerations, and also including environmental and policy perspectives
  • A brief analysis of EC policy and regulatory decisions on the setting up of GMO-free regions, transboundary movements of GMOs and co-existence of GMOs with conventional and organic farming
  • A consideration of how EC policy and regulatory decisions are being interpreted by the UK government
  • An up to date assessment of trends in public opinion on GM crops in the UK and Europe
  • Review of academic and practitioner literature addressing similar issues in regional politics and policy making

Information sources included the Innogen Centre’s extensive database, its network of contacts, web-based information, additional academic and trade literature, telephone interviews and electronic communications.

Key findings

The final report, which is confidential to SWRA, presented the implications of various decisions on the declaration of a GM-free zone for SWRA, from a neutral perspective.

Further information

For further information contact Joyce Tait, joyce.tait@ed.ac.uk