GM protest peaceful

TRIALS USING wheat genetically modified to resist pests have survived the weekend.

For week protestors had been publicly planning to “decontaminate” the site at Rothamsted Research Station where the GM crop is being grown. The’Take Back the Flour’ group fears that the GM wheat will cross with other plants.

Their threats provoked researchers involved in the trial to launch an emotional online appeal to stop any protests. In a short video they tried to allay fears of cross-contamination and explain how important such trails are in terms of food security.

However, a statement on the Rothamsted website said there had been a “peaceful” protest and that “both supporters and opponents had the chance to make their voices heard”.

It continued: “The police and security response was necessary to prevent the destruction of our work and, with the constant threats to decontaminate our experiment as well as the vandalism last weekend, it was important to ensure a safe afternoon for our staff, visitors and protestors alike.

“We hope we can now proceed with this BBSRC-funded project without any further threats to find some answers to the question of reducing the use of harmful insecticides in wheat crops, benefitting future generations and the environment.”