How Genetic Manipulation Affects Land Prices
Farm Land Values in Danger from GM Crops
If your soil is contaminated, how much will your land's value drop? We may start to learn how the market regards GM land.
By the way, new findings indicate that the roots of GM crops leak toxic chemicals into the soil. The supporters of genetic manipulation apparently did not test for this before introducing GM organisms into the biosphere. And why should they bother, so long as politicians do what lobbyists say and pay no attention to scientific findings about safety?
Below, a report from the Eastern Daily Press.
by Jonathan HartleyLandowners are watching closely.
The sale of AgrEvo's UK headquarters in Norfolk will prove a testing ground for whether GM crop trials have an adverse effect on land prices, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
As a result of a proposed merger between biotechnology giants Rhone-Poulenc and AgrEvo's parent company, Hoechst, the company's operation at East Winch, near King's Lynn, is being transferred to Essex.
It means that for the first time land that has been used to grow GM crops will be put on sale.
RICS spokesman William Tew said: "This is a good opportunity to gauge the market's reaction to the GM issue."
The Norfolk HQ includes more than 110 acres of land, some of which has been used to trial modified oilseed rape, sugarbeet and maize.
The guide price for this agricultural land has been put at £400,000 by Cambridge estate agent Cheffins Commercial.
The offices and building are being sold separately with a guide price of £850,000.
There are no restrictions on growing food commercially on land that has previously been used for trialling GM crops.
A Government spokesman claimed: "There are no side-effects from the development of GM crops and therefore no logical basis for any negative impact on land values."
In May, the RICS warned landowners that allowing GM crop trials on their land might affect its overall value. But Mr Tew said he was unwilling to speculate on whether the price of land at East Winch would be affected.
Oliver Harwood, rural policy surveyor for the Country Landowners' Association, said: "We shall be keeping a watch..."
"We want to know whether it does make any difference."
The merger is expected to be completed before the end of the year when a new company, Aventis, will be formed.
The AgrEvo operation, which employs more than 30 people, is being transferred to Ongar, Essex, where Rhone-Poulenc's UK headquarters is based.
Who do you believe, the scientists or the politicians? If you owned farm land, would you plant GM crops? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
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