GM-Free Britain
11 February 2009

We need to spur local authorities around the country to declare themselves GM-free. The more self-declared GM-free areas there are in the UK, the harder it will be for the Government to introduce commercial growing of GM crops.

A local GM-Free Britain campaign will involve:

  • Directly engaging with your local council
  • Getting local business and organisations on side
  • Encouraging local people to show support
  • Generating local media coverage

This page contains everything you need to build your own GM campaign in your locality.

The GM-Free Britain campaign is part of a wider initiative across Europe where hundreds of regions and local areas have declared themselves GM free. To find out what's happening and where vist the GMO-free Europe website

Plan future action

Keeping your area GM free
(PDF format 307K) October 2003
A guide to EU decision making for Local Authorities and National Parks. Decisions on applications to grow GM crops in Europe are being made now. This report provides guidance on how to make a case for exemption under Article 19 of the EU Directive on GMOs for each crop.

Regional information to accompany report:

Now or never
(PDF format - 326K) Oct 2002
This detailed report contains key arguments on why you should make your area GM- free.

Campaigning with Local Authorities: A Starter Pack
(PDF format - 436K) Oct 2002, updated Jul 2004
Use this campaigning guide, with the report above, to plan actions to make your area GM-free.

Beginners guide to Local Authorities
(PDF format - 170K) Oct 2002
Introduction to the structure and workings of local government - and how to influence them.

Campaign materials

Promote your campaign using these GM-Free Britain materials.

(PDF format - 130K) Oct 2002
Cut-out GM-Free Britain flags and instructions which you can use to make bunting or hand held flags.

Poster (A2)
(PDF format - 130K) Oct 2002
A2 sized colour poster of the GM-Free Britain logo and slogan. Note: It prints on 4 sheets of A4 paper which can be fastened together.

Poster (A4)
(PDF format - 93K) Oct 2002
A4 sized colour poster of the GM-Free Britain logo and slogan.

Leaflet (A4)
(PDF format - 344K) Dec 2002
Introductory leaflet describing the aims of the campaign.

Press materials

Make sure the local media know about your action using these sample press materials

Sample press release
(TXT format) Oct 2002
Download the text and produce a press release in your word processor.

GM-Free Britain media factsheet
(PDF format - 102K) Oct 2002
Use this factsheet in conjunction with your press release to provide the media with background information on your campaign.

Campaign letters

Use these sample letters as the basis of letters to send to local businesses and authorities.

Sample letter to local business
(TXT format) Oct 2002
Download the text and produce a letter in your word processor.

Sample letter to local authority
(TXT format) Oct 2002
Download the text and produce a letter in your word processor


Our GM-Free Britain campaign team has prepared a range of detailed background information briefings on genetic modification.

GM-free Local Areas
(PDF format - 146K) Mar 2003, updated Jul 2004
A guide to using the law to protect your area from GM crops. Including what 'GM-free' means, how you can use EU legislation to help your campaign and what your local authority can do.

GM-free Britain Sticky Questions
(PDF format - 37K) Mar 2003, updated Jul 2004
Answers to some of those difficult questions, including Friends of the Earth's position on GM, the process of commercialisation and how to get your local authority involved.

Market Forces
(PDF format - 124K) Oct 2002, updated Feb 2004
For the past four years as a response to customer demand the majority of UK food manufacturers, retailers and fast food outlets have not been using GM ingredients. It is clear that there continues to be no demand for GM food in the UK.

GM food safety
(PDF format - 137K) Oct 2002
The safety of GM foods remains in serious doubt. A senior member of the British Medical Association has called for GM trials to be halted and the head of the Government's GM food safety committee has admitted that possible hazards of GM foods could have been missed.

Economic impact of GM
(PDF format - 127K) Oct 2002
The Government and the biotech industry are promoting genetically modified (GM) crops on the economic benefits they will supposedly bring. However, after several years of growing them in the US, the evidence of the economic benefits is far from clear.

The farm scale trials
(PDF format - 113K) Oct 2002
In 2000, in response to concerns raised by English Nature, the UK Government introduced a three year programme of farm scale trials of genetically modified (GM) herbicide tolerant crops. From the beginning, the trials have been criticised by environment organisations, local residents, and even the Government's GM watchdog, the Agriculture Environmental Biotechnology Commission (AEBC).

Gene flow
(PDF format - 126K) Oct 2002, updated Feb 2004
Recent research has revealed that the GM crops closest to commercialisation in the UK pose a particularly high risk of contaminating other crops. This raises concerns about how GM and non-GM crops can grow and co-exist in the future.

GM crops and food security
(PDF format - 120K) Oct 2002
Many people, not least those who live in countries where hunger persists, believe that a technological fix will at best address the symptoms of hunger and malnutrition, but not the causes. Many fear that corporate control over the food chain through patents and the ownership of seeds may even exacerbate the problem.

The GM regulatory process
(PDF format - 77K) Oct 2002
GM legislation originates in Europe and is implemented in the UK under domestic laws. Currently, new directives are being developed by the European Union (EU) to introduce traceability for GM foods and increased labelling requirements.

Herbicide use and GM crops
(PDF format - 129K) Oct 2002, updated Feb 2004
If GM crops get the commercial go-ahead in the UK, herbicide tolerant crops will be the first to be grown. For the biotechnology industry they offer substantial opportunities for increasing profits, as they own both the GM seed and the herbicide to which it is tolerant.

Liability and GM crops
(PDF format - 152K) Oct 2002
Currently there is no legislation to require biotech companies to pay compensation or clear up any damage caused by their crops. If GM food and crops are as safe as the industry says they are, why won't it accept liability for any damage caused?

Seed purity
(PDF format - 130K) Oct 2002
In order to protect the public's right to choose non-GM food, or for farmers to grow non-GM crops, it is essential that seed stocks remain free of GMOs. This will become increasingly difficult to achieve if GM crops are grown widely in the UK.

T25 Maize
(PDF format - 123K) Oct 2002
In the course of Friends of the Earth's investigations into the approval of T25, serious failings in the regulatory process and flaws in the scientific research were discovered.