Nicola Sturgeon is ignoring both scientific fact and the wellbeing of Scotland’s food and drinks industry by pushing ahead with plans to ban GM crops, the Scottish Conservatives have said.
Leader Ruth Davidson challenged her on the decision at First Minister’s Questions today, pointing out the ban wasn’t based on scientific evidence, and wasn’t something the country’s food and drink sector wanted.
It follows the publication of a paper today by the Royal Society of Edinburgh which criticises the SNP’s approach on the proposed ban of genetically modified crops.
The “unexpected announcement”, it said, “does nothing to enhance Scotland’s long-standing reputation for scientific creativity” and “could disadvantage the growth of important Scottish businesses”.
Experts also criticise the “emotive language” of ministers which are “likely to fuel negative public perceptions about GM and related technologies”.
The Scottish Whisky Association said it would monitor the move closely in the interests of having a “competitive and modern farming sector” and wanted to make sure “it does not undermine Scottish agricultural success”.
Ruth challenged the First Minister to publish all the advice and evidence she received on the issue, but instead Nicola Sturgeon insisted the decision would be stuck to, regardless of the RSE concerns.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:
“This is not just about GM crops – this is about her approach to government.
“It’s vote-chasing, political calculation – it’s not science, not industry and not jobs.
“But in this case there was no prior consultation with Scotland’s scientific community, the food and drink sector or the farming industry.
“The Royal Society of Edinburgh has published its highly critical paper on the decision, and rightly points out it wasn’t based on scientific evidence and could place Scottish businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
“But it is just one of more than 30 academic and agricultural organisations who are urging the Scottish Government to listen.
“If the First Minister is so confident of the advice she based her decision on, then she should publish it.
“I suspect there’s far more polling and focus grouping than scientific papers.”