Maize field near Garvagh Co. Derry

Angus MacDonald welcomes Northern Ireland's joining Scotland in blazing the clean, green agricultural trail

News that Northern Ireland will follow Scotland in banning GM crops under new European Union rules has been welcomed by Angus MacDonald, the MSP for the constituency of Falkirk East and an active member of Holyrood's Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee (RACCE).

The Environment Minister at the Stormont Parliament in Belfast, Mark Durkan, has taken the decision to ban the cultivation of GM crops, citing the need to protect the environment andNorthern Ireland’s green reputation.

Stormont Parliament - Copy

This follows the decision last week of France and last month of Germany, to use the same European Union rules to ban genetically modified crops.

GM Maize

This eco-friendly agricultural trend had originally been set by the Scottish Government six weeks ago, when the decision was taken at Holyrood to restate its precautionary approach to the cultivation of GM crops to safeguard Scotland's clean, green status. 

Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee Member at the Scottish Parliament, Angus MacDonald MSP - pictured below at a RACCE Land Reform Bill research trip to the Isle of Jura on Monday - was quick to offer his congratulations to the Northern Ireland Assembly upon reaching this decision. He said, “I very much welcome the decision of the Northern Ireland to join Germany and France in following Scotland's lead and banning the cultivation of generically modified crops.”

Angus on Jura for Land Reform Bill tour - Cropped and small

The Falkirk East MSP continued, "Northern Ireland has recognised, like Scotland, the importance of securing our food and drink sector’s green-focussed vision and mission. As was the case with the Scottish Government’s ruling for this country last month, Stormont’s landmark legislation prohibiting GM crops is, in a very real way, a triumph for common sense cultivation in Northern Ireland.”

“Coming from a farming background, this is a subject very close to my heart and I’ve had long-standing concerns about the harmful effects of genetically modified crop cultivation, both from an environmental and an economic perspective. Indeed, I’ll be referencing the whole GM crop issue again in my speech in this afternoon’s debate on ‘Agriculture, Current Challenges Facing the Sector and the Opportunities’ in the Scottish Parliamentary Chamber – based on a motion tabled by Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead.”

“Scotland’s food and drink sector recently broke the £14 billion barrier for the first time and has grown twice as fast as the sector in the UK has a whole since 2008. The Scottish Government’s decision to restate our long-standing precautionary approach to the cultivation of GM crops will protect our clean green reputation – allowing our valuable food and drink sector to continue its remarkable growth.

Crop rearing illustration 1

Mr. MacDonald concluded his statement by exhorting, “A growing number of governments - across Europe - have followed the lead of Scotland in taking this step to protect public health and the biodiversity of our environment.”

“Whether it is on climate change, renewable energy or fracking, we are determined that Scotland remains at the forefront of environmental protection in the European Union.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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