Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee

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Conduct of the GM public debate eighteenth report of session 2002-03 report, together with minutes of proceedings, oral and written evidence

House of Commons papers 2002-03 1220

Corporate Author:
Great Britain Parliament House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
Curry David chairman
TSO (The Stationery Office)
Price: £13.00

This report examines the conduct of the Government's public consultation exercise, called GM Nation?, about the use of genetically modified (GM) crops, which was held between June to July 2003. It focuses on the adequacy on arrangements made to support the debate and the role played by DEFRA in providing financial support and publicising the debate. The Committee concludes that the public debate was an innovative attempt to both inform and consult public opinion regarding a controversial and complex matter, and to encourage public participation in policy-making. However, whilst it was modestly successful in some areas, overall it represents an opportunity missed. The information meant to underpin the debate (the Strategy Unit's economic review, the GM Science Review Panel report, and the outcome of the farm-scale evaluations) was released too late, and the process failed to engage people beyond a self-selecting group which already held views about GM. Thus, the wider public was in the main not informed by the debate, and nor were their opinions canvassed. The Committee lays the blame for these failures with the Government, because it did not allocate sufficient resources to the debate and set an absurdly tight deadline for its conclusion.

Extent 24, Ev 60p. ISBN 9780215013897
Size N/A Price £13.00
Format Paperback Published 20 Nov 2003
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