|What you can
(before July 18th!)
If you are concerned about GM crops in your fields and GM food
on your shelves. Here's what you can do:
· Visit www.gmnation.org
and fill the form out online as part of national debate.
· Email the US Ambassador in Britain from www.foe.co.uk
· See www.hffoe.org.uk
for details of your local campaign
Letter from Ken
"I fully support this effort and will lobby both within the
UK and the EC to ensure that a GM free policy is adopted and London's
voice heard in this.
I am pleased to assure you that my existing policies accord with
your request for support, and that I am working to apply these
policies to the GLA group as a whole. I do not have any control
over foodstuffs in London, but I do wish to see GM foods regulated
in such a way as to preserve individual choice over whether to
purchase GM food.
* The Greater London Authority follows ethical procurement procedures,
and will continue to do so. For example, in our catering contracts
we insist on organically certified produce.
* I do not have land under my control where there is an option
to use GM plants, as the only land that I control directly is
in Parliament and Trafalgar Squares.
"Hammersmith and Fulham Friends
of the Earth are delighted that the council have a GM free catering
policy. We first contacted the council to find out details of
their policy last year but it is still unclear whether this includes
services other than schools e.g. meals on wheels and other care
services. Even though the gm free catering policy is positive,
it's about time the council listened to its residents' and effectively
communicated its full policy in an area that concerns people and
started to put further measures in place to protect the Borough
from GM plants in parks allotments and gardens. There are still
too many unanswered questions about GM including liability, health,
environment and potential impacts on farming industry and economics.
It could fall to the public again to pay expensive clean up costs"
- Paula White, Hammersmith and Fulham FOE.
On the 12th of April at the Hammersmith Community Festival shoppers
in Kings Mall, Hammersmith, wrote an incredible 300 letters expressing
their support for the GM free campaign in just four hours at the
Hammersmith and Fulham Friends of the Earth stall. However the
local borough council is still refusing to listen to residents'
concerns over GM. The Borough council claim to have a GM free
catering policy but do not publicly provide any details. E.g.
through their website or at the library. The council say they
believe people have a right to choose but how can people choose
when they do not have information about what their own council
In contrast the GLA have responded
very favourably to the campaign. Ken Livingstone has made a statement
to say he fully supports the GM Free London campaign. In the Mayor's
Biodiversity Plan there is a clear statement that 'The Mayor opposes
commercial or experimental release of genetically modified organisms
into the environment of London'.
The campaign has had excellent
support all round from local businesses (e.g. Bushwhacker, the
Fresh Food Company, Gingliks, Fulham Palace Garden Centre, The
Grove Bar and Restaurant), the general public and the GLA. It's
a terrible shame the council are not equally as responsive.
|* In my
Biodiversity Strategy I have adopted the following proposal:'
The Mayor will oppose commercial or experimental release of Genetically
Modified Organisms (GMOs) into the environment in London'(proposal
32). In paragraph 4.105, 4.105 and 4.168 of the Strategy you will
see that this is for two broad reasons: the potential risks that
genetically modified organisms pose to London's farmland biodiversity,
and the implications of GMOs in the context of the Rio Convention,
including social, environmental and economic implications, particularly
in the less developed world.
I am pleased that you are working in this area and wish you well
for your campaign."
up for our free weekly newsletter
Comment on this story on the forum
At a national level
there is a very real possibility that the government will decide
in a few months to start growing GM crops commercially in the
UK. It was announced a year ago there would be a public debate
on the issue. Finally, after month of delays, GM Nation? The public
debate has been launched which runs from 3 June until 18 July.
own government is keen to push ahead with GM. Given the tremendous
pressure from the US and the biotechnology industry, it is crucial
that as many people as possible take part in this debate. Silence
will be taken as compliance and used by the government to justify
opening the country to GM even though polls show that the majority
of the public is firmly against it.
US Grow Impatient with Europe
Meanwhile the US
has filed a complaint with the World Food Organisation. It is
claiming that the EU moratorium on growing and importing GM crops
and food is an illegal barrier to free trade.
The European ban on GM was a result of public concern about its
possible effects on health and the environment. Europe is developing
tough labelling laws to ensure that consumers will continue to
be able to choose GM-free food. If the US complaint succeeds,
the US will be able to force GM foods onto the UK public, regardless
of what people want.