First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has extolled the importance of scientific advice in policy-making yet insists her government had no plans to overturn its ban on the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops.
The seemingly contradictory stance was laid bare at NFU Scotland’s annual meeting in Glasgow.
In response to a question on research funding, Ms Sturgeon insisted scientific advice was becoming increasingly relevant to how government took decisions.
“So much more of what government is doing on a day-to-day basis takes us into the realms of science and underlines the importance of scientific advice,” she said.
She continued: “What farmers are doing now and the methods they need to use in future are so driven by science and the development of science that it needs to be central.
“So you have our assurance to support the rural research industry but also support the importance of scientific underpinning in everything we do and the decisions we are taking.”
Ms Sturgeon said the decision to ban the growing of GM crops, despite scientists advising the technology is safe, was not a contradiction.
“Cultivating GM crops would compromise and threaten the quality our produce is seen for.
“Since we took that decision there have been in the region of 19 other countries who have also taken advantage of that opt-out.”