Co-Existence measures

Co-existence measures and legal aspects

The regulation of genetically modified organisms in the UK is relatively extensive. For the most part, the UK has taken EU legislation and has adopted it into national law. Because co-existence is a relatively new concern, co-existence regulations are still in a state of development.

Legal framework

Co-existence measures are currently being developed. There have been consultation activities with stakeholders to address issues such as voluntary GM-free zones, the regulatory burden on farmers, the interests of organic farmers, the interests of the consumer and environmental organisations, and the agronomic co-existence measures necessary for maize, rapeseed, and beet. The consultations resulted in a written package of proposals and options, which was published by Defra in July 2006. The document may now be commented on and contributed to. It is the government's clear intention to introduce co-existence measures before any commercial cultivation of GM crops takes place. This is not expected before 2008. The discussion package is available at

Liability for economic damages

Defra have proposed in their consultation document that GM farmers who do not comply with co-existence measures may be liable for economic losses suffered on conventional farms. Liability and compensation schemes where no liability has been established are currently under consultation.

Regional Co-extra reporter /rapporteur:

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