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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

Action: Say NO experimental GM wheat – CLOSED

A private company has applied for permission to run open-air experiments with GM wheat at Rothamsted Research’s farm near St Albans. GM Freeze has submitted a fully referenced objection on behalf of 25 organisations but your views matter too.

Please let the Environment Secretary know that you do not want this to be allowed by emailing gm-regulation@defra.gov.uk with the subject line “GM application ref 22/R55/01” before Tuesday 17 January.

THIS ACTION HAS NOW CLOSED

Our tips

  • Send your email to gm-regulation@defra.gov.uk with a subject line that includes the application reference number, 22/R55/01.
  • If you prefer, you can write to GM Team, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Second Floor, Seacole Building, Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF but please be quick as postal strikes may delay the delivery of your letter.
  • Explain, in your own words, that you do not want the trial to go ahead. You can use the notes below as a guide but the most important thing is to show that this matters to you.
  • Express how you feel, but please do so politely.
  • If you have expertise in a relevant area (eg genetics, farming, baking) or would be particularly affected by the trial, say so.
  • Send a copy of your objection to your MP.
  • Please send us a copy of your submission and any replies you receive.

What’s wrong with the proposed field trial?

Nobody has examined the DNA of the GM plants in detail to check exactly what genetic changes have been made. This is important because genetic engineering often goes wrong – it is not acceptable to assume that the only genetic changes that have happened are the ones that were intended.


The developers of this GMO have not published their work so far. That means that nobody else has seen or checked the results of their laboratory experiments or greenhouse trials.


The developers have, nonetheless, applied for patents on two key elements of their GMO. It is notable that they have been quicker to protect their own future income than to ask the scientific community to examine their work.


The GM wheat contains an antibiotic resistance gene. No plants should be grown in open fields with these genes because they can spread to bacteria, adding to the growing global problem of antibiotic resistant infections.


GM wheat has a history of escaping from field trials around the world. Wheat is a staple food in the UK, so it’s just not worth letting an experimental GM version out in the open.


There have been a large number of GM field trials running in recent years, but very few results have been made public. The Environment Secretary should not allow any more field trials until the ones that are running have been properly analysed and the results shared widely.


More information about the problems with this trial can be found in the detailed, fully-referenced objection that GM Freeze has submitted on behalf of 25 different organisations. 

Other ways to take action

  • Share your concerns on social media. It helps if you tag @gmfreeze on twitter and follow our Facebook page (/GMFreezeUK).
  • If you represent a company, voluntary group or other organisation that shares your concern about this trial, contact vicky[at]gmfreeze.org to discuss signing on to our detailed, multi-agency response.

Help us keep saying no

Work opposing this trial is funded by donations from people like you.

If you can afford to contribute financially, please give what you can to allow us to make more noise about risky GM field trials.