The Scottish government announced on Sunday that it planned to ban the growth of genetically modified (GM) crops to protect its “clean and green brand,” adding that consumers in Scotland did not request such products.
GM crops have caused a division of opinion in Europe where some environmental groups say they have concerns about the impact the crops have on the environment and human health, while producers say research shows the crops are unharmful.
Richard Lochhead, the Scottish government's minister for the environment, food and rural affairs, said he would use the opportunity of the new European Union rules which allow countries to opt out of the growing of EU-authorised GM crops.
"Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment - and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status,” Lochhead said.
"There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our 14 billion-pound ($22 billion) food and drink sector,” he added.
Lochhead said he had informed the British government of the planned decision.