"Under the proposals, novel crops and farming practices would be assessed for any detrimental effect on the environment, but these would be considered alongside the benefits they may also have on biodiversity, yields and soil quality. If the crops were judged to have an overall benefit, they would be approved for planting.
Chris Pollock, committee chairman, said the future sustainability of British farming would be in grave jeopardy if farmers were not permitted to adopt new technologies that were proven to increase yields or have other benefits. "If we are serious about sustainable agriculture, we have to be open to new technologies. This is the first shot in what I expect will be a long war."
Anti-GM campaigners voiced concerns that the report will see untested GM crops facing less scrutiny before being allowed on to the market. Claire Oxborrow, of Friends of the Earth, said: "It should absolutely not lead to a reduction in the rigorous application of legislation to test GM crops for their safe use.""