Archive for March, 2008

GM Crops: The Welsh Assembly Has Led, The Scottish Government Must Follow

Greens today put down a motion at Holyrood (1) calling on Scottish Ministers to follow the approach of the Welsh Assembly Government to GM crops, and welcoming their proposals, published today, which would bring in full liability for all GM crop producers. (2) These plans, which are backed by the Farmers’ Union of Wales and by environmental campaigners, would ensure that GM companies would have to bear the costs of any environmental or economic damage their crops cause, such as contamination of either organic or conventional produce.

Robin Harper MSP said:

“The science clearly shows the failings of GM crops, which bring nothing but risk for Scotland’s farmers and corporate control for our food chain. Scottish legislation must now be extended beyond the moratorium to make GM companies fully liable for any problems their unwelcome crops bring.”

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Sparrowhawks: Ministers Must Take Wildlife Responsibilities Seriously

Scottish Ministers have bowed to pressure from the pigeon-fanciers’ lobby and agreed to trap and relocate protected sparrowhawks this autumn, although the plans will not now start before the autumn. (1) The Scottish Greens believe this approach is misguided, unscientific, and potentially illegal, and have today lodged a motion setting out these serious concerns. (2)

Robin Harper MSP said:

“This trial planned by Michael Russell and the “doo lobby” is scientific in just the same way that Japan’s approach to whaling is scientific: cynical, flawed, and driven by vested interests.

“This matter has been examined three times already over the last eight years and the science hasn’t changed. Sparrowhawks are a protected species for good reason (3), as Parliament has recognised, and Ministers must respect that.”

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UK Oil And Gas Plans For Moray Firth “Blown Out Of The Water”

Oil and gas exploration plans for the Moray Firth were today thrown into doubt as Robin Harper MSP pressed Michael Russell, Minister for the Environment, on scientific revelations that Westminster’s science is fundamentally flawed. (1) Scottish Ministers have yet to come off the fence on this issue, but
Michael Russell today committed to “do his usual robust thing” when SNH’s scientific review of the project is completed next week. (2)

UK Ministers claim to have used the work of Professor Paul Thompson, the leading expert on the Moray Firth’s bottlenose dolphin population, to justify their exploration plans, but Professor Thompson’s view is that they have misrepresented his views. In his submission to the consultation, Professor Thompson also notes that UK Ministers have not used “the best available science”, and that the decision to expose the Moray dolphins to this risk “would fail to stand up to expert review in the European Court.”

The full text of Professor Thompson’s letter is available on request.

Robin Harper MSP said:

“This proposal to drill for oil in the home of a protected and endangered dolphin population was obviously flawed from the start. Now it turns out that UK Ministers have misrepresented the science to justify their plans, which have now been blown out of the water by the top expert on this population.

“The Moray Firth and other parts of Scottish waters are protected for a reason, and Malcolm Wicks must now do the right thing and put conservation and the environment ahead of this polluters’ charter.”

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