§ Lord Kennet
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Who advised them that a 20-metre safe zone between genetically modified crops and other crops was sufficient; and whether these advisers remain in their employment. [HL3382]
§ Lord Whitty
There has been no such advice. Each application for the release of genetically modified (GM) plants for research purposes is supported by a risk assessment which is evaluated by government experts and independent scientists on the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE). Their consideration will include the possible spread of GM pollen by all means and its likely consequences. Based on the type of GM plant, how it has been modified and the circumstances of the proposed release, it may be judged necessary to minimise the potential for cross-pollination of neighbouring sexually compatible crops or wild relatives by the GM plants. The precautions taken to prevent or reduce cross-pollination include the removal of flowers, specific isolation distances between GM and non-GM plants or borders of non-GM plants around the plots of GM plants. Where isolation distances are set between genetically modified crops and conventional crops these are not intended to prevent pollen spread but to reduce pollen spread as far as is practically possible.