Local SNP MSP Bruce Crawford and local Councillor Evelyn Tweed have slammed Westminster for breaking its promises to Stirling’s farmers just weeks after the end of the Brexit transition period, after the UK Tory government announced plans to consult on the introduction of gene-editing.
Commercial planting of GM crops is currently banned in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland following decisions in 2015 – but without EU protection, the Tories are now threatening to overrule the devolved administrations and drive down Scotland’s high-quality food standards.
Despite the ban, the Tory Power Grab Bill allows ministers to override Scottish Ministers in certain areas, including in farming and food standards.
The proposal to introduce pesticide neonicotinoid is a promise which has been explicitly broken after Michael Gove committed not to U-turn on it. The pesticide is used for sugar beet, but is harmful to bees.
Bruce Crawford MSP said:
‘The harsh realities of the Tories’ Power Grab Bill are coming home to roost now, with Boris Johnson’s government threatening to impose GM crops on Scotland – despite a ban.
‘Our local food and drink sector is world-renowned for being of the highest quality, so these plans to introduce GM crops will come as a devastating blow to the industry that is already struggling to deal with the impact of Brexit.’
Local Councillor Evelyn Tweed said:
‘Thanks to the Tories, the UK’s global reputation may well be damaged beyond repair, but we want to maintain Scotland’s clean, green reputation when it comes to food and drink standards.
‘If the Tories won’t listen to the warnings from Scottish farmers right here in Stirling, and across Scotland, then it is clear the only way to protect Scotland’s interests is as an independent, European nation.’
Broken promise on neonicotinoid: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/09/pesticide-believed-kill-bees-authorised-use-england-eu-farmers
UK Government announcement on consultation: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/gene-editing-creates-potential-to-protect-the-nations-environment-pollinators-and-wildlife