Norfolk MP says EU’s hostility towards science is hampering investment

George Freeman MP at the Gurdon Institute at the University of Cambridge George Freeman MP at the Gurdon Institute at the University of Cambridge

Friday, January 10, 2014
6:30 AM

The rise of an “increasingly science hostile” European Union is undermining our attractiveness as a place to invest, MP George Freeman has said while calling for reform or the UK would try to “take back” science regulation from Brussels.

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The Norfolk MP will today publish a report for the European reform project, Fresh Start, in which he highlights an increasing tide of “anti-biotech” legislation.

Fresh Start - click here to read the report in full

He said the EU’s hostility to Genetically Modified crops had already seen German based BASF and US major Monsanto announcing its withdrawl from Europe in agricultural research and development, adding that EU policymaking machine was being driven by “increasingly strident and politically active biotech-hostile lobbying groups, and minority political parties exercising influence through the coalition politics of member states.”

Mr Freeman said the Norwich Research Park and “Norfolk-Cambridge corridor” was an opportunity to attract major inward investment, but the opportunities could be put at risk by EU legislation.

He said: “Increasingly institutionalised prejudice against the appliance of science and biotechnology in key sectors of medicine and food and agriculture risks condemning Europe to a new ‘dark age’, cut off from playing a potentially major role pioneering the new technologies with the potential to help feed, fuel and heal the developing world, tackling the growing global crisis of food and medicine.

“Over the next 30 years the world faces a major Global Challenge in the three core life science sectors of food, medicine and energy: how to double world food production to feed nine billion people in 2050, with half as much water and energy, from the same land mass?

“Biotechnology is the defining technology of our age, with technologies such as GM, nanotech and genomic medicine unlocking new opportunities for the world’s population to transform the life prospects of the poorest people on earth.

“But the rise of an increasingly science hostile green politics in Europe is starting to undermine Europe’s attractiveness as a location for biotech investment, and risks condemning Europe as a backwater in some of the most exciting fields of human endeavour.”

10 comments

  • "Biotechnology is the defining technology of our age" claims George Freeman MP. This is the same George Freeman who on Radio 4's Today programme in June 2012 gave as an example of a GM crop breakthrough a broccoli on sale in the UK at Marks & Spencers that tackles heart disease. But this was a conventionally bred broccoli that had nothing to do with GM. In fact the biggest breakthroughs are being made with enhanced conventional breeding. There are no GM crop trials of any kind in the pipeline for the UK this year (the first time since 2007). I very much doubt that hasmuch to do with any EU policy. Most of the UK public don't want GM crops grown here, farmers know that, and the benefits of new conventional breeding techniques are providing the higher yields that are needed.

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    Roger Mainwood

    Friday, January 10, 2014

  • Indeed Roger, its dawning on them that they've been sold a pup by companies who have only one interest, cornering a share of the food and seed market with clever chemistry, whilst destroying sustainable agriculture in the process and stopping farmers save their seeds for next year.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 10, 2014

  • Most of us know that Europe is run by a majority of failed people who could not hold down a proper job or get a job in their home countries government. It is a crying shame that they bring down the rest of us.

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    DaveG

    Friday, January 10, 2014

  • Sugar beet has been GM for years, we were told this in the 1980's when yields started to rise rapidly. It's a very dangerous practice you shouldn't mess with nature

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    Sweet cheeks

    Friday, January 10, 2014

  • MP's, Councillors, Council Jobsworths, Teachers, Quango members (NALEP etc) are also "failed people" who could not hold down a proper job if their lives depended on it. The trouble is, is that the EDP and other papers take what they say as being gospel and not reading betewwn the lines.

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    "V"

    Friday, January 10, 2014

  • Old George is just spreading. The Cameron Magic Fairy Dust. Sprinkle enough around at it will blind everybody to the facts. He may berate the EU but it was his party that ,under Ted Heat, began the lies to dupe the people of the UK that the " Common market " as it was known ,was nothing more than harmonizing cross border taxes allowing swifter transfer of goods. This was the basic lie when the referendum was given to the people of this land. It is quite evident that the Common Market has evolved into the EU of today. A corrupt dictatorial Federal Empire. All thanks to successive British governments, of all parties,signing away our Sovereignty. For once the EU is doing the right thing fighting this very new high tech tinkering with the food chain. Good old George is still pushing the" Feed the world "party line. No George, you know and most people know it is really about profits. To produce fresh food that is perfect in colour, size and shape that will stay fresh on the shelves for as long as scientifically possible. What can be more dangerous than altering the basic structure of a naturally grown product including live stock. It is the stuff that horror movies are made of.

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    norman hall

    Sunday, January 12, 2014

  • I'm not even sure why this is newsworthy. It is pretty much the same thing that was said by George Freeman last October. It even uses the same over the top phrase. In October 2013 "the EU’s increasingly anti-science greenery is stifling investment and risks putting Britain into a new Dark Age "....today "“Increasingly institutionalised prejudice against the appliance of science and biotechnology in key sectors of medicine and food and agriculture risks condemning Europe to a new ‘dark age’...". Combine this with Environment Secretary Owen Paterson's comment earlier this week that the UK "risks becoming the museum of world farming" because of its lack of GM crops, and it becomes clear how desperate the rhetoric in the GM debate is becoming.

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    Roger Mainwood

    Friday, January 10, 2014

  • Much of what the science park does regarding crop science is fundamentally flawed and based on maximising profits for food producers. You only have to research the science involved making grain like Wheat and Barley more resistant to pests and disease, yes it can be done and it will increase yields and minimise toxic chemicals being used in prevention but the downside in increasing the lectins in any plant is it makes the grain almost totally indigestible and unhealthy, which due to plant breeding is very much the case already without adding to it.

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    John L Norton

    Friday, January 10, 2014

  • Well Roger it's like this. Every Tory MP is getting a puff piece in the EDP and what passes as Tory totty in Norfolk (La Truss and La Smith) got their piece with winsome smiley pictures. Freeman does not pass as hot totty so they had to dig around for something to say and a convenient old piece was found on a spike in the newsroom. And with a picture of his shiney pate and a microscope to show he is a serious scientist. I await with interest the last puff pieces and their accompanying props.

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    alecto

    Sunday, January 12, 2014

  • What George Freeman MP calls hostility, others call common sense. George Freeman likes to speak up for multinationals he can't hold to paying taxes, but who he can enpower to make vast profits from patented foods in a monopolised position. Why should the EU back and support a technology that only favours those who control it, not the farmers, the consumers or the breeders who see this onesided funding for over ten years distort the markets. We have paid hundreds of millions into an industry that has no markets, nop consumers and no support from the farming community, a total waste of good money. The distrubing aspect is that this industry is teaching our children that this technology is the savious of all our answers, they have created a program within our schools that is classed as life science, when in reality it is all about cornering guranteed patented market shares and profits for companies that are eager to pay their taxes in some low tax country such as Lichtenstein, Bermuda or the Turks and Caicos, not here were they want to make the profits.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 10, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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