Anti-GM campaigners have welcomed a decision by biotechnology giant Monsanto to pull out of the European seed cereal business.
The announcement came as the Government published its report into GM crop trials and its effects on the environment and wildlife.
Monsanto, the huge US company that has pioneered GM crops, issued a statement which announced its “intention to exit from its European cereal seed business”.
The closure of the firm’s multimillion research operation in Trumpington, Cambridge, is expected to result in the loss of up to 80 highly skilled jobs.
Friends of the Earth (FoE) hailed the announcement as a victory for anti-GM campaigners.
The company blamed the failure in the growth of a market in hybrid wheat seeds for the decision, saying it had “failed to materialise”.
Operations in France, Germany and the Czech Republic will also be affected by the closure. It follows a broadside this week at GM companies by EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom.
She accused US bio-tech companies of “trying to lie” and “force” unsuitable GM technology on to Europe.
Monsanto said it will immediately begin to seek a buyer for all or parts of its cereal seed business. It said it intended to move its crop protection and oilseed rape business to a new base in Cambridge.
FoE anti-GM campaigner Pete Riley said: “This means that Monsanto has no intention of introducing GM wheat or barley into Europe, which is pretty good news.”