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The East is known as the breadbasket of Britain - producing more than a quarter of England's cereal crops. But now we could be the battleground in the war over GM crops.
The government has insisted we should be growing our own GM foods. It says the evidence shows they are safe and also beneficial. Claire McGlasson reports.
On his visit to Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire Mr Paterson visited the field where the active GM crop trial is taking place.
The field, which is surrounded by a high fence, has security guarding it 24 hours a day and signs warn of guard dogs.
Everyone going through the gate next to the field had to sign a book as part of the tight security process - even Mr Paterson.
Before taking the trip out to see the crop trial, Mr Paterson toured the laboratories and had a go at using a particle gun, which is used in the GM process
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the UK could have a "leading role in feeding the world".
Mr Paterson made the announcement at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, today.
He said the Government will help companies and research providers to overcome any barriers they may face in the UK - ensuring that it is the "best place" for them to carry out their work.
"The farmer benefits. The consumer benefits. The environment benefits," he said