GM wheat trial protests

Hundreds of protesters have gathered near a scientific research centre where a genetically modified wheat crop is being grown. Security around the site in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, has been increased.

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Crop scientist: 'everyone in GM debate wants answers'

Asscientists, we do not claim to have all the answers. However, our scientificcommunity must be able to conduct regulated and approved trials and experimentswithout the threat of vandalism hanging over them. Everyone involved in allsides of the GM debate wants answers to questions. We will only get these bycompleting the research.

We understand that some people do not agree with this research and we support and encourage our funded scientists to engage with a range of views around their work. I hope that the critics of the Rothamsted trial will now be willing to engage the scientists in a discussion about their specific concerns – but without leaving the threat of vandalism of their work hanging over them.

– Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive

Crop centre to proceed with project 'without further threats'

We are pleased that the protest in Rothamsted Park this afternoon has been peaceful and that both supporters and opponents had the chance to make their voices heard. We have worked closely with the Hertfordshire Constabulary and are very grateful for their support to protect any illegal damage to our experiments and facilitating this peaceful protest.

The police and security response was necessary to prevent the destruction of our work and, with the constant threats to 'decontaminate' our experiment as well as the vandalism last weekend, it was important to ensure a safe afternoon for our staff, visitors and protestors alike. We hope we can now proceed with this BBSRC-funded project without any further threats to find some answers to the question of reducing the use of harmful insecticides in wheat crops, benefitting future generations and the environment.

– Rothamsted Research statement


Hertfordshire Police: We will respond to 'unlawful demonstrations'

We fully recognise the right of people to demonstrate lawfully and peacefully on public land and will facilitate demonstrations of this nature in Hertfordshire.

Officers will be present to police the day peacefully and ensure that people are able to protest peacefully and we would welcome further contact from the organisers in order to facilitate this.

However, as the police we always have a duty to uphold the law and will respond appropriately should unlawful demonstrations or criminal acts occur.

– Hertfordshire Police

For more on this story, see ITV Anglia.


Protest against wheat testing banned

Protestors planning action over a genetically modified wheat trial in Hertfordshire have been banned from going anywhere near the crop.

A group called Take The Flour Back had planned a day of protests at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden.

But St Albans council has won an order from the Home Office to use extra police powers to stop them going on to the land, amid fears the demonstration could result in damage to crops and buildings.

Supporters are due to congregate in Rothamsted Park, next to the institute, at noon.

The plan was to proceed along footpaths to a site where scientists are growing a new strain of experimental wheat.

Take The Flour Back hopes "hundreds" of activists will answer the rallying call.

For more on this story visit the ITV Anglia website.

Proposed 'mass action' against wheat experiment

Proposed 'mass action' is to take place today in Harpenden, Hertfordshire by Take the Flour Back campaign group.

The protest is against the experimental trial of wheat, which has been genetically modified (GM) to repel aphid attack - the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants.

Bakers, farmers, allotment holders and beekeepers are thought to be turning out to voice their opposition to GM crops at Midday.

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