No genetically modified crops being grown in the UK at this time either commercially or for research. Commercial cultivation is not expected before 2008 at the earliest. In recent years, GM crops were grown for research and development purposes at a number of sites. The primary examples of such plantings were the Farm Scale Evaluation (FSE) GM field trials.
The UK government takes a precautionary approach to releasing genetically modified crops. It will only authorise the commercial release of a GM crop if evidence shows it does not pose an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment. The UK generally supports the EU position on commercialised GM crops and has not taken safeguard actions to block authorisations granted by the EU.
Field trials on various GM plant species have taken place in the UK including oilseed rape, maize, wheat, strawberry, pea, sugar beet, poplar, and apple.
The Farm Scale Evaluation field trials was the world’s most extensive evaluation of the environmental impact of herbicide tolerant GM plants. Its results can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/fse/.
Two Defra funded research projects are investigating the out-crossing of rapeseed and maize in the UK using conventional maize and rapeseed.
The UK has no special safeguard actions to block authorisations granted by the EU. There was a temporary ad hoc moratorium on commercial cultivation of GM crops while the Farm Scale Evaluation was taking place. Subsequently, glufosinate tolerant T25 maize was to be approved but the request for authorisation was withdrawn by Bayer for commercial reasons.