ACRE is a statutory advisory committee appointed under section 124 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (the EPA) to provide advice to government regarding the release and marketing of genetically modified organisms. The committee works within the legislative framework set out by Part VI of the EPA and the GMO Deliberate Release Regulations 2002 which together implement Directive 2001/18/EC.
ACRE advises the UK Government and devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our advice is given, in England, to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). In Scotland and Wales we advise the Scottish Ministers and the Welsh Assembly Secretaries, while in Northern Ireland ACRE’s advice is received by the Department of the Environment. In addition to ministers, ACRE also advises the Health and Safety Executive on human health aspects of releasing GMOs in respect of England, Scotland and Wales.
Details of the Review Process Undertaken by ACRE in Assessing Release Applications are available.
Openness and Transparency
We have a continuing commitment to openness and transparency in the working of our committee and its sub-groups. In February 2008, we established a new Public Engagement ACRE sub-group to develop proposals for a rolling programme of effective public engagementrelated to ACRE’s commitment.
We publish meeting agendas on the website in advance of each meeting and invite comments. The minutes of our meetings are also published on the website, and the secretariat aims to do this within a target period of 15 working days after each meeting. Our advice to ministers is also published on the web or can be obtained from the secretariat.
- Our publication scheme (PDF 30 KB)
Papers relating to GMO release and marketing applications are placed on the public register which can be viewed by appointment with:
Defra’s Information Resource Centre
Telephone: 020 7238 6575
As a committee, we publish guidance and, of course, annual reports of our business. All members are required to declare interests that may conflict with their role on ACRE. Members’ interests are publicly available and reproduced each year in our annual report. We also have transparent working practices that allow us to deal openly with the infrequent conflicts of interest that arise at ACRE meetings. When a member’s interests conflict with an item of ACRE business, for example where release applications are received from institutes or companies with whom members are involved, members are required to inform the committee. The committee then decides whether the link requires the member to be absent from discussions. The decision of the committee and its reasons for including or excluding the individual is minuted and published on the website.