At least two farmers have pulled out of the recently announced Farm Scale
- one at Ulleskelf in Yorkshire and another at Friskney Tofts in Lincolnshire.
One of those grid references was TF506542, indicating a trial was taking
place at Sea Lane, Friskney. At this time it was not known which farmer
owned the land because it is a 6 figure grid reference and there are several
farmers who farmed that area.
The DETR and SCIMAC both refused to divulge the name of the farmer or
his address - stating that it was part of the agreement with the farmers
that their name and address would be kept secret if they so wished. This
site is on recently reclaimed land and is next to the salt marsh - an
area covered by at least 6 special conservation orders. This area is probably
the finest agricultural land in the country and is intensively farmed.
There are usually 2 -3 crops per year, most for supermarket sale, in addition
to some exceptional grazing land.
On Tuesday, 15th March, The Gaia Trust hired the village hall (11am -
5pm) at Friskney for an impromptu public discussion. During that time
over 300 people, many of these farmers and businessmen, called in for
information, to find out how they could prevent the trial from taking
place, and to give their support for a public meeting which had been arranged
to take place this Friday (24th) at the Village Hall. By 5 pm, and after
consulting dozens of maps, it was the general agreement that the trial
farmer was Andrew Roughton of Ingleborough Farm, Friskney.
Yesterday, (Wednesday 22nd) The Gaia Trust received information that Mr
Roughton had spoken to Lincs FM and Radio Lincolnshire to state that although
he had been approached to conduct a trial, he had not signed a contract
and he would not be holding a trial on his land. This announcement was
broadcast later in the day.
The Gaia Trust contacted the DETR to ask if it was usual policy to announce
a trial BEFORE a contract had been signed. They replied that it was not
and that as far as they were concerned a contract had been signed. They
refused to confirm if that contract was with Mr. Roughton, saying if the
farmer wanted to keep details secret he could so. When asked if it could
be a different farmer they would not comment.
After talking to other DETR departments, SCIMAC and Monsanto, the outcome
was the same.
This raises important questions.
1) Either Mr. Roughton is the farmer conducting the trial, and has changed
his mind due to local opposition (some local businesses had stated that
they would not trade in any manner with anyone growing GM crops)
2) Mr. Roughton is the farmer conducting the trial, would like to remain
secret and is therefore denying it
3) Mr. Roughton is not the farmer conducting the trial and another unknown
farmer in the area is doing so.
4) A trial was announced as taking place when no farmer had signed a contract.
The fact that there is so much uncertainty here raises other questions.
1) If Mr Roughton is the farmer and has not signed a contract why are
the DETR saying a contract has been signed?
2) If a contract has not been signed in this particular trial, is it possible
that contracts have not been signed for some of the other trials that
3) Why would the DETR want the public to assume contracts have been signed
when they have not?
4) Is it possible that there are not enough farmers for this years trials
- and that by announcing farmers who have only been approached - they
can buy more time to find the necessary trial sites?
For more information contact
The Gaia Trust
Tel/fax 01507 490112
email: [email protected]