Environmental concern group Friends of the Earth today [Tuesday] urged local authorities to become GM-free zones after a new poll showed 57% of Britons to be against GM crops being commercially grown in the UK.

Local branches of the campaign group plan to approach local councils in a bid to increase the pressure ahead of a government decision on the issue.

A three-year field trial of GM crops in Britain is now in its final year, and a government decision on whether to allow the crops to be grown commercially is expected in the next 18 months.

Friends of the Earth claims that allowing GM crops to be grown commercially in the UK will lead to widespread GM contamination of crops, food and the environment.

The poll on GM commercialisation was carried out for Friends of the Earth by NOP Omnibus on 1,000 people aged 15 and over.