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Assessing the environmental impact of crop production practice: beyond the GM farm-scale evaluation (joint with CGMP) - AR0317

The project will provide an evidence-based specification for a robust, cost-effective regulatory scheme to assess undesirable indirect effects on farmland ecology and wildlife of novel crops or production practices. This will allow Defra to make appropriate additions to current regulatory practices which, it has recently become apparent, do not cover GM and conventional crops and practices in a consistent manner. This will contribute to improved environmental protection and increased public confidence in the regulatory system. The users of results will thus be Defra (directly), industry (indirectly) and the public (indirectly). The project will have four main modules in the proposed Ecological Risk Assessment. These are (1) A tiered assessment that triggers relevant protocols – the problem formulation stage, (2) Design protocols of appropriate statistical power and field test for cost effectiveness (3) Risk characterisation by upscaling from field to national impact, using models based on existing knowledge, and input data generated by Module 2. (4) Post release monitoring of maintenance of conditions of release, and for detection of unexpected effects. All modules will be developed with substantial consultation of appropriate stakeholders. The ERA will be tested in a series of desk exercises examining four contrasting changes of practice.
a)Scientific Objectives

Our proposal is structured into four overall objectives. These are:

1. Development of the risk assessment framework (problem formulation) (Southampton Univ, in consultation with all contractors);

1.1 Establish a conceptual model

1.2 Determine Assessment Endpoints in light of goals and methodology to be used in the assessment (link with 1.1 and Objective 2)

1.3 Develop Measurement Endpoints which can allow inference of measure of protection or evaluation of the risk to the assessment endpoint

1.4 Develop analysis phase in conjunction with Objective 2

1.5 Develop risk characterisation and risk description using results from objectives 2, 3 and possibly 4

2. Establishment of experimental protocols (RRES in consultation with all contractors);

2.1 Quantify variability and cost of collection of FSE data, and their relationships with statistical power and achieved levels of information.

2.2 Design and develop protocols for comparative and non-comparative approaches, using appropriate data sources including registration submissions, FSE, PSA species lists and GCT datasets.

2.3 Use FSE Consortium data to estimate likely costs of proposed protocols.

2.4 Develop experimental parameterisation of protocols and assess and develop protocols in the field, using four case studies.

3. Risk characterization–upscaling (CEH, BTO, Reading, GCT, WCRU, in consultation with all contractors);

3.1 Develop generic models for upscaling agricultural change impacts on a range of taxa to national scale (CEH & Oxford)

3.2 Develop models for upscaling agricultural change impacts to grey partridge (GCT)

3.3 Develop models for upscaling agricultural change impacts to granivorous birds (BTO & Reading)

3.4 Evaluate generic v specific methods of upscaling agricultural change impacts (CEH, BTO, GCT, Oxford, Reading, Rothamsted). Contingent on completion of 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3

3.5 Provide recommendations for upscaling methodology (All)

4.Post-release monitoring (GCT, RRES in consultation with all contractors);

4.1 Develop post-release monitoring methodologies to ensure compliance with conditions imposed on the new crop production practice. This will identify extent of usage, methods used and thus any deviation from predicted usage pattern or method.

4.2 Extend risk assessment procedure to identify unexpected effects as a consequence of management changes, increased scale of release or effects not previously testable (e.g. some interactions). This would identify where additional or specific post-release monitoring is required.

4.3 Develop post-release ecological monitoring methodologies for short-term and examine existing schemes for suitability for long-term appraisals.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Assessing the environmental impact of crop production practice: beyond the GM farm-scale evaluation (joint with CGMP)   (296k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2005

To: 2006

Cost: £790,675
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Rothamsted Research (BBSRC)
Arable Farming              
Biological Control              
Climate and Weather              
Climate Change              
Natural Resource Use              
Oilseed Rape              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study
Arable Crops