Northern Ireland bans genetically modified crops
The EU said this year its 28 member states could take their own positions on the issue
No GM crops are being grown commercially in the UK. File photograph: by Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Genetically modified crops have been prohibited in Northern Ireland.
Stormont’s Minister for the Environment Mark H Durkan said he was unconvinced of the advantages of the technology.
The European Union said earlier this year that its 28 member states could adopt their own positions on the issue.
Mr Durkan said: “I remain unconvinced of the advantages of GM crops and I consider it prudent to prohibit their cultivation here for the foreseeable future.”
No GM crops are being grown commercially in the UK but imported products such as soya are being used for animal feed.
Mr Durkan added: “The pattern of land use here and the relatively small size of many agricultural holdings creates potential difficulties if we were to seek to keep GM and non-GM crops separate.
“I consider that the costs of doing so could potentially be significant and, in many cases, totally impractical.
“Further, we are rightly proud of our natural environment and rich biodiversity. We are perceived internationally to have a clean and green image. I am concerned that the growing of GM crops, which I acknowledge is controversial, could potentially damage that image.”