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11/08/00   Advanta Seeds UK threatens to sue the Government to recover the compensation payments totalling more than £.5 million which the company claims was necessitated by Nick Brown's advice to farmers to destroy GM contaminated oilseed rape crops. Advanta asserts that those crops could have been harvested and sold for non-food use.
03/08/00   The Government announces 25 new sites for trialling winter oilseed rape genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glufosinate ammonium, which is ordinarily banned for winter use because of the hazards it poses to the environment and water supplies.
03/08/00   The Government decides to press on with the planting of the winter GM oilseed rape trials before deciding next month whether or not to change existing buffer zones designed to protect the purity of conventional crops from most cross-pollination.
03/08/00   The House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee criticises the Government's system for controlling GMOs and says the accidental planting of crops contaminated by GM material this summer had serious repercussions for consumer confidence.
03/08/00   The House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee recommends that there should be screening of all seed imports to the UK to ensure that they are GM-free. The Government has yet to put an effective system in place to ensure that screening takes place.
18/07/00   Advanta tells a committee of MPs that the separation distances between its conventional and GM oilseed rape crops in Canada was 4000 metres. This was 80 times the separation distances used for crop trials of GM oilseed rape in the UK.
18/07/00   Dr David Buckeridge, Advanta's European Affairs Director, admits that his company never tested for GM contamination in the Hyola hybrid oilseed rape seeds which it sold in Europe. He said this was because Advanta considered the 4000-metres buffer zone in Canada to be sufficient. Advanta was wrong.
15/07/00   Around 35 people take part in a a Carnival Against GM Crops at New Craig Farm, Daviot, Aberdeenshire.
14/07/00   Farmers Weekly says, "Advanta admits Hyola spring rape may now be a dead brand".
14/07/00   Farmers Guardian reports that the Countryside Agency has recommended that the SCIMAC guidelines for separation distances between GM test sites and other crops "should be raised substantially", to 6000 metres for oilseed rape.
14/07/00  

Activists strike again at New Craig Farm, Aberdeenshire. Six people are subsequently arrested.

08-09/07/00   Activists destroy half a hectare of a 3-hectare farm-scale trial of GM oilseed rape at New Craig Farm, Daviot, Aberdeenshire. This is the only farm-scale trial in Scotland.
08-09/07/00  

Activists destroy 75% of a farm-scale trial of GM oilseed rape at Wold End Farm, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. 2.5 hectares of the crop was damaged.

early 07/00   Activists destroy 75% of a farm-scale trial of GM oilseed rape at Wood Farm, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.
05/07/00   The National Farmers' Union announces that the sums of compensation to be offered by Advanta Seeds UK to farmers who planted GM-contaminated oilseed rape have been agreed. Farmers north of a line drawn between Carlisle and Newcastle are being offered 370 per hectare; those south of that line are being offered 337 per hectare. The different sums reflect the higher yield of this crop which is typical of northern Britain.
30/06/00   The Green Party formally endorses the aims of the DIG IT UP! campaign.
23/06/00   Commenting on the recent destruction by activists on three GM oilseed rape field trials in Cambridgeshire, Stephen Wildridge of Monsanto says: "We must question whether MAFF will now be in a position to make a decision on these trials following the loss of the information." (source Farmers Weekly, 23/06/00)
20/06/00   Government ministers reveal that the farm-scale trial of GM oilseed rape at Daviot, Aberdeenshire (the only farm-scale trial in Scotland) has GM contaminated oilseed rape as the control crop. The Government had been informed of this blunder on 09/06/00. Friends of the Earth calls for the trial at Daviot to be abandoned, but the Government insists that the trial remains valid and will continue.
19/06/00   EU governments hold an emergency meeting to discuss how to avoid further cases of accidental GM contamination of agricultural seeds. The session breaks up without agreement and a further meeting is set for three weeks' time.
19/06/00   Since 17th May, the Government has inisted that the GM plants in contaminated oilseed rape crops are infertile, but today the Junior Agriculture Minister Baroness Hayman says, "I am informed that there is a potential for one in four of one per cent of this crop that is genetically modified being fertile".
19/06/00   A member of staff at MAFF comments that large number of DIG IT UP! postcards have been received by his office.
16/06/00   The Genetic Engineering Network reports that three 'National Seed List' field trials of GM oilseed rape in Cambridgeshire have been destroyed by activists in the last few days.
15/06/00   English Nature says that the Government's plan to allow GM contamination up to a threshold of 1% in seed to be sold as GM-free is "totally unacceptable on food safety and environmental grounds". (source Sunday Times, 16/06/00)
15/06/00   Harry Hadaway of the Soil Association says: "If the [contaminated] crops are allowed to flower, organic farms will become infected, which is totally unacceptable for farmers and consumers. Any GM trial crop near an organic farm should be removed immediately."
13/06/00   Micheal Meacher tells the House of Commons that "It is false to pretend that there is any distance which is going to prevent some contamination." He went on to say "...it is those who buy the product which will have to determine what degree of GM in non-GM food is accepatable to them."

Pete Riley, Real Food Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, comments: "At last a Government Minister agrees with us! What we need now is action to prevent the current farm-scale trials and test sites contaminating crops and honey. Mr Meacher has let a large yowling cat out of the bag: a rambling debate about crop separation distances would be a complete waste of time."
09/06/00   'Way Now Clear for Farmers to Destroy GM Crops' (NFUS press release 09/06/00)
The National Farmers' Union of Scotland informs its members that they can "destroy the affected crops before they flower, leave the land fallow for the summer and still be eligible for payments under the Arable Aid Scheme", and it advises, "the best way to destroy the affected crops is by using a suitable herbicide, following up with light cultivation and then destroying any re-growth."
09/06/00   English Nature advises farmers to DIG IT UP!, but it stresses that they should do so because growing these crops is illegal, rather than because of harm which they might cause to the environment.
08/06/00   The Government orders an urgent review of the separation distances between GM and coventional crops in the light of the current crisis. (source The Times, 09/06/00)
08/06/00   In a statement to the House of Commons, Nick Brown explains that after an agreement in Brussels, farmers who are growing GM contaminated oilseed rape will be entitled to EU subisdies even if they cut it down. (Yesterday in Paliament, BBC Radio 4, 09/06/00)
07/06/00   Under an 'exclusive' tag on the front page of the Yorkshire Post, farmers are told to remove the heads from contaminated oilseed rape, leaving the rest of the plant standing, to qualify for compensation. According to this report, satellites will be used to check that the crops remain green at the end June. An National Farmers' Union spokesperson tells DIG IT UP! co-ordinators that this story is "a load of nonsense". Official advice from the NFU is expected this Friday (09/06/00).
03/06/00   Mohammed Al Fayed, himself a major agricultural landowner in Scotland (as well as the owner of Harrods), offers to pay legal costs for the National Farmers Union of Scotland to sue Advanta Seeds UK for compensation for its members.
02/06/00   Advanta advises farmers to destroy their GM contaminated oilseed rape crops and says that it will compensate them for their loss.
01/06/00   Bishop Burton Agricultural College announces that it will destroy its 14-hectare crop of GM contaminated oilseed rape planted at its North Lincolnshire Centre in Brigg. Centre manager, Charles Szabo says: "We had to order the destruction before pollination occured and GM material got into the environment, which would have created real problems, especially for local bee-keepers." (source Yorkshire Post, 05/06/00)
29/05/00   In Germany, Greenpeace helps a German farmer to cut down five hectares of GM contaminated oilseed rape in south-western Germany. The farmer says: "Tomorrow I will sue Advanta to compensate for the damages. How can a farmer trust these seed companies any more? I also wonder why I have to have Greenpeace help me out rather than the German Ministry of Agriculture."
29/05/00   Advanta has decided to stop sourcing oilseed rape seed from western Canada because the risk of cross-pollination from GM crops is now too high. (source the Times, 29/05/00)
28/05/00  

"I have found the herbicide-resistant genes in the [GM] rapeseed transferred across to the bacteria and yeast inside the intestines of young bees"
says Professor Hans-Hinrich Kaatz, `who has conducted research over four years on bees feeding on GM oilseed rape produced by Aventis. This research - which has not yet been formally published - suggests that horizontal transfer can occur between a GM crop and the creatures which feed on it. (source The Observer, 28/05/00)

28/05/00   The Natural Law Party formally endorses the aims of the DIG IT UP! campaign.
27/05/00   Nick Brown says it is illegal to sell or grow GM crops commercially in the EU and he advises farmers to destroy their GM contaminted oilseed rape crops, but he says that the Government will not pay them compensation - claims should be sought from the seed company. The National Farmers Union estimates that UK farmers will be about 3 million worse off and it is considering suing the seed company.
27/05/00   The first mass signing of DIT IT UP! postcards takes place at a stall in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
26/05/00   In Luxembourg, the government instructs farmers to destroy the GM contaminated oilseed rape crops. It has agreed to compensate the farmers and hopes they will also take legal action against the seed supplier. (source ENDS Daily, 29/05/00)
25/05/00  

In the morning, Michael Meacher, invites the public to let him know if 1% GM contamination is acceptable to us. Later, Nick Brown, answering questions in the House of Commons, says that he fully agrees with Michael Meacher that a 1% threshold for GM contamination of seeds is not only unacceptable to consumers, but dangerous to the environment. (sources BBC Radio 4 Today programme, 25/05/00; The Daily Telegraph, 26/05/00)

25/05/00   Greenpeace UK issues the Government with a 7-day ultimatum to instruct farmers that selling GM contaminated crops is illegal, failing which Greenpeace will take legal action.
25/05/00   The RSPB confirms to us that the GM contaminated oilseed rape, which the RSPB unknowingly planted on Orkney, to provide food for birds, is being dug up.
25/05/00   The Marquess of Lansdowne has destroyed 65 hectares of contaminated OSR. In a letter to the Times, he states, "The Ministry of Agriculture was informed that this consignment of seed was contaminated on April 17 - a fortnight before we sowed our crop. It must be asked why those who had purchased the seed were not informed immediately and, secondly, instructed by the Ministry to destroy the seed (or the crop if it had already been planted) to ensure GM plants are contained in research environments only." (The Times, 25/05/00)
25/05/00   France has ordered the destruction of all six-hundred hectares of crops which contain some genetically-modified rapeseed plants. It has also ordered an inquiry into how the GM and ordinary seeds came to be mixed. (BBC News Online)
25/05/00   Joan Ruddock MP tables an Early Day Motion (788) calling for Parliament to reject the proposal of European seed manufacturers to introduce a 1% threshold for GM contamination in seeds to be sold as GM-free.
25/05/00   Simon Thomas MP tables an Early Day Motion (787) calling for the Welsh National Assembly to be considered a full partner in all UK and EU discussions on GM agriculture.
24/05/00   3214 people voted in a teletext phone-in poll organised by ITV. Asked whether or not the GM contaminated oilseed rape crops should be destroyed, 93% said yes, 7% said no.
24/05/00   The Welsh Assembly votes unanimously for a ban on GM crops throughout Wales. (Reuters News Service, 24/05/00)
24/05/00   The Swedish Board of Agriculture has decided that the crops with genetically modified oil seed rape will be destroyed. (Swedish Board of Agriculture press release, 24/05/00)
24/05/00   Alan Simpson MP tables an Early Day Motion (782) calling for the Government to destroy the GM-contaminated seeds and crops and "to arrange compensation for farmers, to hold seed suppliers fully liable for contamination under the polluter pays principle, and to halt seed imports which lack comprehensive verification as being GM-free".
24/05/00   The DIG IT UP! website is launched.
20/06/00   Government ministers reveal that the farm-scale trial of GM oilseed rape at Daviot, Aberdeenshire (the only farm-scale trial in Scotland) has GM contaminated oilseed rape as the control crop. The Government had been informed of this blunder on 09/06/00. Friends of the Earth calls for the trial at Daviot to be abandoned, but the Government insists that the trial remains valid and will continue.
15/06/00   English Nature says that the Government's plan to allow GM contamination up to a threshold of 1% in seed to be sold as GM-free is "totally unacceptable on food safety and environmental grounds". (source Sunday Times, 16/06/00)
13/06/00   Micheal Meacher tells the House of Commons that "It is false to pretend that there is any distance which is going to prevent some contamination." He went on to say "...it is those who buy the product which will have to determine what degree of GM in non-GM food is accepatable to them."

Pete Riley, Real Food Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, comments: "At last a Government Minister agrees with us! What we need now is action to prevent the current farm-scale trials and test sites contaminating crops and honey. Mr Meacher has let a large yowling cat out of the bag: a rambling debate about crop separation distances would be a complete waste of time."
09/06/00   'Way Now Clear for Farmers to Destroy GM Crops' (NFUS press release 09/06/00)
The National Farmers' Union of Scotland informs its members that they can "destroy the affected crops before they flower, leave the land fallow for the summer and still be eligible for payments under the Arable Aid Scheme", and it advises, "the best way to destroy the affected crops is by using a suitable herbicide, following up with light cultivation and then destroying any re-growth."
09/06/00   English Nature advises farmers to DIG IT UP!, but it stresses that they should do so because growing these crops is illegal, rather than because of harm which they might cause to the environment.
08/06/00   The Government orders an urgent review of the separation distances between GM and coventional crops in the light of the current crisis. (source The Times, 09/06/00)
08/06/00   In a statement to the House of Commons, Nick Brown explains that after an agreement in Brussels, farmers who are growing GM contaminated oilseed rape will be entitled to EU subisdies even if they cut it down. (Yesterday in Paliament, BBC Radio 4, 09/06/00)
07/06/00   Under an 'exclusive' tag on the front page of the Yorkshire Post, farmers are told to remove the heads from contaminated oilseed rape, leaving the rest of the plant standing, to qualify for compensation. According to this report, satellites will be used to check that the crops remain green at the end June. An National Farmers' Union spokesperson tells DIG IT UP! co-ordinators that this story is "a load of nonsense". Official advice from the NFU is expected this Friday (09/06/00).
03/06/00   Mohammed Al Fayed, himself a major agricultural landowner in Scotland (as well as the owner of Harrods), offers to pay legal costs for the National Farmers Union of Scotland to sue Advanta Seeds UK for compensation for its members.
02/06/00   Advanta advises farmers to destroy their GM contaminated oilseed rape crops and says that it will compensate them for their loss.
01/06/00   Bishop Burton Agricultural College announces that it will destroy its 14-hectare crop of GM contaminated oilseed rape planted at its North Lincolnshire Centre in Brigg. Centre manager, Charles Szabo says: "We had to order the destruction before pollination occured and GM material got into the environment, which would have created real problems, especially for local bee-keepers." (source Yorkshire Post, 05/06/00)
29/05/00   In Germany, Greenpeace helps a German farmer to cut down five hectares of GM contaminated oilseed rape in south-western Germany. The farmer says: "Tomorrow I will sue Advanta to compensate for the damages. How can a farmer trust these seed companies any more? I also wonder why I have to have Greenpeace help me out rather than the German Ministry of Agriculture."
29/05/00   Advanta has decided to stop sourcing oilseed rape seed from western Canada because the risk of cross-pollination from GM crops is now too high. (source the Times, 29/05/00)
28/05/00  

"I have found the herbicide-resistant genes in the [GM] rapeseed transferred across to the bacteria and yeast inside the intestines of young bees"
says Professor Hans-Hinrich Kaatz, `who has conducted research over four years on bees feeding on GM oilseed rape produced by Aventis. This research - which has not yet been formally published - suggests that horizontal transfer can occur between a GM crop and the creatures which feed on it. (source The Observer, 28/05/00)

27/05/00   Nick Brown says it is illegal to sell or grow GM crops commercially in the EU and he advises farmers to destroy their GM contaminted oilseed rape crops, but he says that the Government will not pay them compensation - claims should be sought from the seed company. The National Farmers Union estimates that UK farmers will be about 3 million worse off and it is considering suing the seed company.
27/05/00   The first mass signing of DIT IT UP! postcards takes place at a stall in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
26/05/00   In Luxembourg, the government instructs farmers to destroy the GM contaminated oilseed rape crops. It has agreed to compensate the farmers and hopes they will also take legal action against the seed supplier. (source ENDS Daily, 29/05/00)
25/05/00  

In the morning, Michael Meacher, invites the public to let him know if 1% GM contamination is acceptable to us. Later, Nick Brown, answering questions in the House of Commons, says that he fully agrees with Michael Meacher that a 1% threshold for GM contamination of seeds is not only unacceptable to consumers, but dangerous to the environment. (sources BBC Radio 4 Today programme, 25/05/00; The Daily Telegraph, 26/05/00)

25/05/00   Greenpeace UK issues the Government with a 7-day ultimatum to instruct farmers that selling GM contaminated crops is illegal, failing which Greenpeace will take legal action.
25/05/00   The RSPB confirms to us that the GM contaminated oilseed rape, which the RSPB unknowingly planted on Orkney, to provide food for birds, is being dug up.
25/05/00   The Marquess of Lansdowne has destroyed 65 hectares of contaminated OSR. In a letter to the Times, he states, "The Ministry of Agriculture was informed that this consignment of seed was contaminated on April 17 - a fortnight before we sowed our crop. It must be asked why those who had purchased the seed were not informed immediately and, secondly, instructed by the Ministry to destroy the seed (or the crop if it had already been planted) to ensure GM plants are contained in research environments only." (The Times, 25/05/00)
25/05/00   France has ordered the destruction of all six-hundred hectares of crops which contain some genetically-modified rapeseed plants. It has also ordered an inquiry into how the GM and ordinary seeds came to be mixed. (BBC News Online)
25/05/00   Joan Ruddock MP tables an Early Day Motion (788) calling for Parliament to reject the proposal of European seed manufacturers to introduce a 1% threshold for GM contamination in seeds to be sold as GM-free.
25/05/00   Simon Thomas MP tables an Early Day Motion (787) calling for the Welsh National Assembly to be considered a full partner in all UK and EU discussions on GM agriculture.
24/05/00   3214 people voted in a teletext phone-in poll organised by ITV. Asked whether or not the GM contaminated oilseed rape crops should be destroyed, 93% said yes, 7% said no.
24/05/00   The Welsh Assembly votes unanimously for a ban on GM crops throughout Wales. (Reuters News Service, 24/05/00)
24/05/00   The Swedish Board of Agriculture has decided that the crops with genetically modified oil seed rape will be destroyed. (Swedish Board of Agriculture press release, 24/05/00)
24/05/00   Alan Simpson MP tables an Early Day Motion (782) calling for the Government to destroy the GM-contaminated seeds and crops and "to arrange compensation for farmers, to hold seed suppliers fully liable for contamination under the polluter pays principle, and to halt seed imports which lack comprehensive verification as being GM-free".
24/05/00   The DIG IT UP! website is launched.
23/05/00   A 27-acre crop of spring-sown [GM-contaminated] oilseed rape in East Anglia has been dug up by the farmer, John Sanderson. Mrs Sanderson said: "We've taken the decision on pure commercial grounds because we don't want to grow crops which contain GM on our farm. It is a straightforward commercial decision. We have taken legal advice and we will be making a claim against the seed supplier and the Government for compensation." (edited from original story in the Eastern Daily Press, 23/05/00)
23/05/00   6 protestors chained themselves inside MAFF's head office in London, demanding an explanation of why the Government allowed the GM contaminated oilseed rape crops to be sown. A banner outside the building read 'Pull up and Pay Up'.
23/05/00   Nick Brown insisted there are "no health or environmental risks" following the accidental planting of GM contaminated oilseed rape on approximately 600 farms. He said that he does not know the locations of these crops.
23/05/00   In Norway, Magne Gullord, managing director of Norwegian Cereal Breeding, which inadvertently distributed GM contaminated oilseed rape seed, says: "We know precisely where the seeds have been planted, and the crops will be destroyed before they can flower". (source ENDS Daily, 23/05/00)
22/05/00   Shadow Agriculture Minister Tim Yeo calls for Nick Brown's resignation over this issue. This is the first time that a senior shadow spokesperson has called for Nick Brown's resignation.
22/05/00   Joan Ruddock MP tables an Early Day Motion (768) calling for "post-harvest destruction of the affected crops with compensation for farmers".
22/05/00   English Nature says: "The standing crop does not need to be destroyed. However, there may be a case for trying to destroy post-harvest 'volunteer' plants... This is in line with present policy to minimise the spread of transgenes where possible." (press release 22/05/00)
20/05/00   Major supermarkets in the UK begin preparing a boycott of any contaminated crops.
19/05/00   Hi-Peak Feeds, an animal feed company, decides to exclude rapemeal from its natural, organic and in-conversion ranges immediately.

18/05/00

  DIG IT UP! campaign commences.
18/05/00   The Government's statutory nature bodies learn about the contamination when they hear the story on BBC Radio 4. Baroness Young, English Nature's chair, said she was "surprised that we came into the loop so late." (Independent on Sunday, 21/05/00, p1)
18/05/00   STATEMENT ON GMOs IN CONVENTIONAL CROPS BY NICK BROWN
15/05/00   Eventually, officials in Whitehall inform their counterparts in Scotland and Wales about the contaminated seed. Ross Finnie, the Scottish Rural Affairs Minister, spoke of his "deep anger and annoyance". (source Guardian, 26/05/00)
10/05/00   Members of the ACRE committee contacted by email and asked for their individual opinions.
17/04/00   The Government learns that GM contaminated oilseed rape seed has been imported and planted across the UK.
     
  If you are planning any events for the DIG IT UP! campaign or have news for us to spread, please let us know, so we can add these to the diary page.
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Scarborough, UK, May 2000
dig-it-up@envoy.dircon.co.uk

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