An organic farmer has failed to halt a genetically modified maize trial close to his farm in the English High Court. In a ruling on Friday, a judge ruled that there was no case for a judicial review of the government's permit for the trial. Supported by environmental group Friends of the Earth (FoE), the farmer had claimed that pollen from the test plants, some of which are only a few hundred yards from his farm, could "contaminate" his crop, putting at risk his organic status (ENDS Daily 26 June). Organic and environmental lobby groups saw the challenge as a major test case that could have seriously delayed the commercial planting of modified crops in the UK. The case was brought after FoE submitted new evidence "showing irregularities and serious data gaps" in the permit originally granted for the trial. The government's advisory committee on release to the environment of modified organisms issued a further assessment shortly before the court case, concluding again that the risk of cross-pollination was minimal. FoE and the Soil Association, which represents organic farmers, have announced that they back a planned appeal against the judgement.
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