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Genetically Modified Organisms: Trees

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 21st May 2008.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what releases of genetically modified (GM) eucalyptus trees were made under release consents 93/R6/1 and 93/R6/2 by Shell Forestry; what areas were planted in each case; how many trees planted released GM materials under each consent; what the duration was of each release made; and whether Shell Forestry submitted a post-release monitoring report for each consent.

Photo of Phil Woolas Phil Woolas Minister of State (Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The trial under consent 93/R6/1 involved the cultivation of 48 GM Eucalyptus plants and 132 non-GM control plants between June and November 1993. Consent 95/R6/2 involved the trial cultivation of 48 GM Eucalyptus plants and 142 non-GM control plants between July and November 1995, within an area of 400 square metres. The precise area of the 1993 trial is not recorded, but as a similar number of plants was involved as in the 1995 trial, it can be assumed that the area planted was broadly the same.

In both cases, Shell Research Ltd submitted post-release monitoring reports which are available in the GM Public Register, held by DEFRA. The reports confirm that no persistence or spread of the genetically modified organisms was detected. This is consistent with the fact that these trials were of young Eucalyptus plants (Eucalyptus grandis) that would not produce pollen or seed. At the end of the trials the plants were killed with a herbicide, dug up and incinerated.

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