Scientists to plant genetically modified trees on government land pending approval
I am not a huge fan of genetic modified products. I do not discount their potential, but the unknown risks give me trepidations.
Scientists have applied to plant a group of genetically modified (GM) trees on land owned by the Forestry Commission.
A group of researchers from the University of Southampton want to establish a settlement of GM poplar trees to carry out research into biofuels.
"Our concerns with GM trees are even more serious than crops because trees are very long lived" - Clare Oxborrow from Friends of the Earth
A spokesman for the Forestry Commission said: "I'm aware that researchers from the University of Southampton have applied to plant some GM poplar on our land.
"We're still considering their request but haven't given a definitive answer."
The plantation would be the first attempt to cultivate GM trees in the UK since 1999, when activists destroyed 115 plants in Berkshire.
But campaigners warned that allowing the move to go ahead would be "an unknown and worrying risk" for Britain's eco-systems.
Clare Oxborrow, a GM campaigner for Friends of the Earth said: "Our concerns with GM trees are even more serious than crops because trees are very long lived.
"They are inherently geared up for spreading seeds and pollen because of they way the reproduce.
"There's a huge potential for cross pollination.
"It could have a really negative impact and cause widespread ecological damage."
She added: "Our concern is that biofuels will distract people away from other solutions."
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The picture was taken at night here in the states on a Hybrid tree farm. (Then inverted)