§ Joan Ruddock
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what non-departmental technical advice he has sought, and what action he will take in respect of the farm-scale evaluation of GM herbicide-tolerant crops pending his review of separation distances between the crops. 
§ Mr. Meacher
[holding answer 25 May 2000]When the separation distances relate to risks to human health or the environment, for example for small-scale experimental releases. I seek non-departmental technical advice from the independent Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, chaired by Professor Alan Gray. These distances are kept continually under review.
When the separation distances are for agronomic or commercial reasons, for example to protect crop integrity, which is the case for the farm-scale evaluations, they are a matter for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, who consult appropriate bodies representing, for example, organic farmers and honey producers.
I am seeking further meetings between the Soil Association and SCIMAC (the body representing agricultural industries involved in the farm-scale evaluations) to examine case-by-case criteria for minimum separation distances for the farm-scale evaluations.
§ Mr. Paul Marsden
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what GM crop trials are being conducted within Shrewsbury and Atcham; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Meacher
[holding answer 5 June 2000]There are currently no GM crop trials authorised under Part B of Directive 90/220 within Shrewsbury and Atcham. There are trials taking place in Shropshire near Ash Parva, 243W Beckbury, Eyton and Prees Heath. Further details of these trials are available on the Public Register held in the Department.
§ Mr. Alan Simpson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on what date his Department was informed(a) by telephone, (b) by e-mail and (c) in writing by Advanta Seeds UK that a batch of Hyola oilseed rape seed had been found to be contaminated with GM oilseed rape seed. 
§ Mr. Meacher
Officials from my Department and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food were first informed of the contamination when they met with representatives from Advanta on 17 April. At that meeting, Advanta informed them that some Hyola oilseed rape in Germany had been found to be contaminated with GM oilseed rape. Since then officials were in regular contact with Advanta to establish the facts of the case and in particular to determine which GM variety was involved and the extent to which the contamination extended to seeds in the UK.